Call for nominations for the WoRMS Top-Ten Marine Species of 2022

WoRMS Marine Species 2022

Once again, taxonomists have continued to publish many wonderful new species throughout last year. With the end of 2022 it is time to think about nominations for The WoRMS Top Ten Marine Species of 2022!

The aim of this list is to highlight the fascinating discoveries of the numerous new marine species being made every year, to the wider public. The 2021 winners span the tree of life, from coccolithophores to jellyfish to whales – see the full 2021 list here.

WoRMS (run by VLIZ, focal point of LifeWatch Belgium) plans to release the list to coincide with World Taxonomist Appreciation Day – 19 March!  If you were unaware of this celebration of all the work that Taxonomists do, you can find more here, and here.  

Please submit your nominations for your favorite species via this form. You are welcome to share this message with colleagues!

The species must have been published in 2022 (validly published between 01/01/2022 and 31/12/2022), must be marine, and can be a fossil species.

Please include the completed form and:

  • A pdf of the paper in which the species was described.
  • At least one good image of the species (with copyright and ownership information).

Good examples will have a compelling story behind the description, e.g. rare or unusual morphology, an interesting name, importance to society e.g for conservation/ medical importance/ toxic/ dangerous.  

WoRMS also needs help deciding on the final list. Self-nomination for the decision panel is welcome.  The decisions will be made via email discussion/vote.  

Please send your nominations, offers to volunteer to join the decision committee, or questions to with the subject ‘Top-Ten Marine Species’.

But hurry! The closing date for submission of nominations is Friday 3 February 2023 to enable the decision and preparation of the pages in time for 19 March 2023.

Addressing climate change, biodiversity loss and habitat degradation towards a sustainable management of European wetlands


RESTORE4Cs, a freshly started project led by the University of Aveiro, will address management and restoration actions to maintain and promote the mitigation and adaptation capacity of European wetlands to climate change, while focusing on coastal wetlands and providing innovative tools and methodologies for decision making and restoration planning and actions.

What is the potential of wetlands? How can multiple challenges such as climate mitigation and adaptation, biodiversity conservation, disaster risk reduction and other threats to ecosystem services be tackled to foster mutually reinforcing actions and enhance co-benefits from wetland restoration?

All major European Union (EU) policies recognise the key role of wetlands to achieve the EU objectives regarding climate neutrality, biodiversity protection, zero-pollution, flood protection, and circular economy. Therefore, assessing the current extent and state of European wetlands, their current and potential greenhouse gases (GHG) profile and their medium to long-term mitigation capacity through restoration, or other measures, are key priorities of the European Union to tackle climate change. Led by the University of Aveiro, the recently awarded Horizon project RESTORE4Cs (Modelling RESTORation of wEtlands for Carbon pathways, Climate Change mitigation and adaptation, ecosystem services, and biodiversity, Co-benefits) will assess the role of restoration action on wetlands capacity in terms of climate change mitigation and a wide range of ecosystem services using an integrative socio-ecological systems approach. 

The kick-off meeting, held in Aveiro from 16 to 19 January, has officially marked the start of the project consortium’s activities, gathering representatives of 15 partners from 9 European countries, including universities, research institutes and infrastructures, small and medium enterprises, intergovernmental organisations and NGOs, bringing together a well-structured and multi-disciplinary team, holding all the essential expertise to be at the forefront of the research/policy interface. The meeting agenda covers all aspects of the project implementation, spanning from administrative issues, overview of the state of the art, coordination, communication and organisation of the work. Case pilot sites have been presented by the related local teams and a first visit in the field has been organised in the area pertaining to Ria de Aveiro.

Focusing on coastal wetlands across Europe, RESTORE4Cs will deliver standardised methodologies and approaches for the prioritisation of restoration, promoting carbon-storage and GHG emissions abatement, while improving the ecological status and the provision of additional ecosystem services, such as flood regulation and coastal erosion protection. More in detail, the project will provide online, user-friendly and integrated tools as unique entry points for wetland practitioners and decision makers regarding the prioritisation of conservation and restoration actions, in relation with their GHG performance as well as impacts on biodiversity and a wide range of ecosystem services while addressing in parallel three spatial scales (local, national, regional/pan-European) combined with the three targeted habitats (wetlands, floodplans and peatlands).

See the full press release, with more information on the project breakdown and consortium members, here.

LifeWatch ERIC and Andalusian Government Announce Details on SmartFood Nanosatellite Launch

SmartFood nanosatellite launch

The Councillor for Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development of the Junta de Andalucía, Carmen Crespo, was welcomed to LifeWatch ERIC’s ICT-Core office in Seville yesterday, accompanied by the director of the Andalusian Agricultural and Fisheries Management Agency (AGAPA), José Carlos Álvarez, to discuss trailblazing agroecology initiatives which will have wide-ranging impacts. 2023 is an exciting year for LifeWatch ERIC, as it gains traction in the EU research and innovation sector.

LifeWatch ERIC has a strong historic collaboration with the Junta de Andalucía, one such synergy being with the AGAPA on the ERDF SmartFood project, for which a nanosatellite equipped with a very high resolution multispectral camera will be launched in October this year from a Space X base in the United States. The aim of the SmartFood project is to monitor the impact of agriculture, livestock and fishing on the sustainable management of biodiversity and ecosystems ­– LifeWatch ERIC has the technological lead here, and is creating the nanosatellite mission control centre “eBRIC” (eBiodiversity Research & Innovation International Centre) in the Doñana National Park, in partnership with the University of Huelva. Among other things, the centre will focus on interconnected sensorisation at the terrestrial, atmospheric (observation stations, drones) and spatial level (satellites); the study of invasive species; aquifer conservation; native flora and fauna protection; and virtual laboratories for scientific research in the Cloud, using ICT such as Big Data, Artificial-Deep Intelligence “Deep Learning”, and especially Blockchain, through the LifeWatch ERIC LifeBlock tool. The infrastructure conceives the e-BRIC as an international reference centre for Europe, Africa, and Latin America and the Caribbean, aligned with the United Nations through the UNOOSA Office for Biodiversity and Climate Change.

Crespo also congratulated the infrastructure on being chosen to play a key technological role in the AELLRI EU Partnership initiative proposed by the European Commission, as part of the Horizon Europe topic provisionally entitled “Accelerating farming systems transition: agroecology living labs and research infrastructures”, to pioneer the EU’s agricultural transition towards sustainable agroecological models. She highlighted “the importance of the research work carried out by Lifewatch ERIC, offering important data that allows better decisions to be made in the pursuit of sustainable agriculture and preserving biodiversity”, citing how these technological innovations will support Andalusia in reaching and maintaining EU ecological agricultural objectives, both on land and at sea.

CTO Juan Miguel González-Aranda underlined the importance of the agricultural, fishing and livestock sector within the green and blue development paradigms, in coordination with the Green Deal and Blue Growth policies of the EU, and expressed his gratitude for the institutional support, especially from the Ministry of Agriculture, pointing out that “biodiversity cannot turn its back on the primary sector, which is so important for the Autonomous Community of Andalusia”.

The Call for EOSC FAIR Champions is Open!

EOSC FAIR Champions

FAIR-IMPACT, a Horizon Europe project in which LifeWatch ERIC partners, has announced the opening of its call for EOSC FAIR Champions, a group of 12 experts that will be actively engaged in analysing and shaping FAIR data policies and practices in their field who will be on board to act as ambassadors for FAIR, engage their community, and advocate for adoption of the project results.

The candidate Champions will be engaged in identifying research data gaps and needs within their communities, to create broader engagement with FAIR, and to shape and disseminate the outcomes of the FAIR-IMPACT project, for instance by facilitating national roadshows in their country, and contributing to the development of FAIR implementation stories.

FAIR-IMPACT is looking for Champions who have broad expertise in FAIR policy and/or practice, bring strong research data advocacy experience and excellent communications skills, are driven to help mobilise others to generate more FAIR data on policy and/or practice level, and are keen to share best practices. Gender diversity, a balanced geographical and stakeholder representation, and broad interdisciplinary expertise across FAIR policy and practice will be ensured in the evaluation of the profiles.

Click here for more details on how to apply. The deadline to apply is Friday 10 March at 17:00 CET.

Punta Tech Meetup 2023

Punta Tech

Punta Tech Meetup is among the foremost technology networking events in the Latin America and Caribbean. Held this year on Monday 9 January at the Punta del Este Convention and Exhibition Centre in Uruguay, it was attended by entrepreneurs from the region and around the world, who gathered to promote business opportunities. Meetup 2023 also focused on promoting gender equality, creating a space for dialogue between women. 

LifeWatch ERIC was represented by Maite Irazábal Plá, EU-LAC Fundraising, Networking & Projects Manager, who networked with key stakeholders in the technology and business world, exchanging ideas and strengthening connections. The event, which started 15 years ago when three friends decided to get together and have a BBQ “asado”, has grown into an international ecosystem that meets once a year to discuss trends in the industry.

The ‘W Meetup’ stimulus network was designed to recognise, celebrate and promote the development of women in a sector in which gender gaps still persist. Stimulating talent and multiplying opportunities will not only increase the number of women employed in technology companies, but open up career paths that lead to decision-making roles.

Another feature of Punta Tech 2023 was the ‘Prompt Battle’, which pitted competitors against each other using text-to-image software. Seven live ‘battles’ allowed participants to vote for the most creative, surprising and innovative exponents of this Artificial Intelligence software, in which images and art are generated from written descriptions called prompts. The event and the synergies created within the region are an opportunity to continue promoting Uruguay as a center for business and export services, especially in the technology sector.

Kick-off meeting of ITINERIS, the Integrated Environmental Research Infrastructures System


On 19 December 2022, the kick-off meeting of ITINERIS, the Italian Integrated Environmental Research Infrastructures System, was held in Rome. The project, funded with €155 million from the PNRR and coordinated by the CNR (the Italian National Research Centre), involves 22 European research infrastructures.

Gelsomina Pappalardo, CNR researcher and Italian delegate at the ESFRI Forum, who chaired the event, highlighted that: “this is a unique project of its kind, even if it has a formal duration of 30 months, it will change the future of Research Infrastructures in Italy with an impact on research for at least the next ten years”. The project aims to establish an Italian hub for accessing data, services and facilities for interdisciplinary study in the four environmental domains: atmosphere, marine, terrestrial biosphere and geosphere.

Work Package 2 of the project, presented by Carmela Cornacchia (CNR-IMAA Potenza) in collaboration with Ilaria Rosati (CNR-IRET Lecce and LifeWatch Italy) is in fact dedicated to “access”. Access to research infrastructures refers to the regulated use of research infrastructures, and to the services offered by them, be it physical, remote, or virtual access – as in the case of data and digital services. With WP2, ITINERIS aims to ensure the FAIRness of the access as well (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reproducible). The challenge is to coordinate the 22 infrastructures towards alignment with the requirements set by the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC).

WP3, coordinated by Alberto Basset, Director of the LifeWatch ERIC Service Centre and Manager of the LifeWatch Italy Joint Research Unit (JRU), will take care of training internal staff and future users of the infrastructures. More than 60 training courses are foreseen for the next 30 months.

After the presentation of WP4, 5, 6 and 7 dedicated to the four domains, each with the development of specific case studies, Antonello Provenzale, CNR-IGG and Coordinator of the LifeWatch Italy JRU, presented WP8. This WP will develop the Virtual Research Environments for data analysis and modelling of future scenarios in ITINERIS’ domains of interest. “Having a central hub that functions as a gateway for users to the infrastructures” said Provenzale, “will make us an example at a European level”.

Article originally posted on LifeWatch Italy.

Frontiers Paper on Crustaceans Workflow

Crustaceans Workflow

A scientific paper about the LifeWatch ERIC Crustaceans Workflow was published on 4 January 2023 in Frontiers on Environmental Science, the community-driven and peer-reviewed research journals dedicated to making science open, so that scientists can collaborate better and innovate faster to deliver solutions that enable healthy lives on a healthy planet.

LifeWatch ERIC, the e-Science European infrastructure for biodiversity and ecosystem research, launched the Internal Joint Initiative in October 2019 on Non-indigenous Species and Invasive Alien Species (NIS-IAS) because they are considered one of the major drivers of biodiversity and ecosystem change. In this paper, the case study on the trophic biogeography of invasive crustaceans is presented, describing the procedures, resources, and analytical web services implemented in the Tesseract Virtual Research Environment to investigate the trophic habits of two invasive taxa by using carbon and nitrogen stable isotope data. The case study offers a number of analytical tools to determine the variability of the trophic position of invasive crustaceans in a spatially-explicit context and to model it as a function of relevant environmental predictors.

Literature-based stable isotope data of the Atlantic blue crab Callinectes sapidus and the Louisiana crayfish Procambarus clarkii were used to evaluate the functionalities and outcomes of the workflow. The results of the study reveal, both at population-scale and individual-scale, the existence of significant relationships between temperature related variables and the trophic positions of the two species. At relatively higher temperatures, omnivorous invaders occupy higher trophic levels in food webs and become more carnivorous, which in conditions of climate change is likely to increase their overall impact.

Moreover, the functionalities of the Crustacean Workflow within the Tesseract VRE offered by LifeWatch ERIC can be adapted to a wide range of species, and will be further improved to support researchers in monitoring and predicting trophic-related impacts of NIS-IAS. The VRE will also support policymakers and stakeholders in the implementation of effective management and control measures to limit the negative effects of bioinvaders in recipient environments.

Read or download the whole paper here (Di Muri et al).

Click here for links to two related papers:
An individual based-based dataset of carbon and nitrogen isotopic data of Callinectes sapidus in invaded Mediterranean waters
Individual and population-scale carbon and nitrogen isotopic values of Procambarus clarkii in invaded freshwater systems