Embracing Open and FAIR Marine Data: The Autumn Data School in Lecce

Autumn Data School

From November 13 to 15, the Autumn Data School was held in Lecce, Italy. It was a three-day workshop organised jointly by EMODnet and LifeWatch ERIC. The workshop brought together researchers from Belgium and the Mediterranean region, including Italy, Greece, Tunisia, and Algeria. The School’s primary objective was to facilitate knowledge exchange and promote open and FAIR marine research data management practices.

During the event’s first two days, the participants engaged in hands-on DATAthon. This involved a deep dive into data management best practices, which included all aspects of the data lifecycle, starting from data collection and ending with data publication. The participants worked in teams, bringing their datasets and receiving guidance on preparing, standardising, and submitting their data to marine research repositories such as MedOBIS and the LifeWatch ERIC Metadata Catalogue.

During the third day of the workshop, the participants explored the potential of Citizen Science platforms, such as Zooniverse and the LifeWatch Citizen Science Platform. They gained valuable insights into creating and implementing Citizen Science projects, which helped them empower volunteers in historical data rescue and standardisation tasks.

The Autumn Data School provided a significant opportunity for marine researchers to collaborate, share knowledge, and build capacity. Emphasis on open and FAIR data practices aligns with the shared vision of EMODnet Biology and LifeWatch ERIC, ensuring that marine research data remains findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable.

LifeWatch ERIC at the British Ecological Society’s Annual Meeting


LifeWatch ERIC is excited to announce its participation in the British Ecological Society’s (BES) Annual Meeting, taking place in Belfast, Northern Ireland, from December 12-15, 2023. This event will brings together ecologists worldwide to share ideas, establish collaborations, and tackle environmental challenges. The primary focus of the LifeWatch ERIC presence will be to engage with early career researchers interested in the Infrastructure’s online tools and services.

As the world’s oldest ecological society, the BES Annual Meeting is Europe’s largest conference dedicated to ecology. In 2022, over 1,500 delegates from more than 50 countries across six continents attended the meeting in person or online – a clear example of the importance of this event in advancing environmental knowledge and promoting sustainable solutions on a global scale.

LifeWatch ERIC’s booth will be a central hub for disseminating information about our services, partnerships, and research initiatives, expected to be of the greatest value to early career researchers. Visitors can access LifeWatch ERIC’s analytical tools, speak with experts, and discover our biodiversity and ecosystem research projects. You can find us at Stand no 3 in the Central Hall.

Nine researchers from LifeWatch ERIC, CNR, and the University of Salento will present their latest findings through papers and posters, including topics like semantic artefacts, invasive alien species, metabarcoding and the CIMPAL workflow.

The BES Annual Meeting features a series of thematic sessions that address specific and timely ecological challenges.

Hot topics in the Anthropocene: Emerging research in fire ecology

This thematic session will explore the latest research on fire ecology in the context of the Anthropocene. While human activities intensify, so does the frequency and intensity of fires, significantly impacting ecosystems and biodiversity. This session will showcase emerging research on fire-climate interactions, fire-regime shifts, and the effects of fire on different ecosystems.

Living laboratories – The nexus between research and practice

This session will discuss bridging the gap between ecological research and real-world conservation practices using living laboratories. LifeWatch ERIC researchers will present their work on using living labs to address biodiversity loss, climate change, and invasive species.

Risks and opportunities from novel land uses and seascape changes

This session will discuss the effects of human activities like urbanisation, agriculture, and coastal development on biodiversity and ecosystems. Researchers will present tools to assess and monitor land and seascape changes. Not only, they will also show strategies to mitigate negative impacts and enhance positive outcomes.

The three-dimensional data revolution in ecology

This session will showcase the power of 3D data in ecological research. The focus will highlight its use in studying plant and animal interactions, ecosystem dynamics, and landscape processes. LifeWatch ERIC researchers will discuss their work on developing and applying 3D data tools for ecological research. The presentations will show the challenges and opportunities associated with integrating 3D data into ecological models and frameworks.

It is expected that LifeWatch ERIC’s cloud computing facilities will attract a great deal of attention. A survey is available to identify the functions that researchers would most value in pursuing their research objectives.

LifeWatch ERIC at EGU 2024: Fostering Collaboration and Knowledge Sharing in Environmental Research

EGU 2024

LifeWatch ERIC, in collaboration with EGI and other ENVRI Research Infrastructures, has organised two sessions in the upcoming European Geosciences Union 2024 (EGU) conference in Vienna from April 14-19, 2024.

Call for abstract: tell us how Research Infrastructures helped with your research

The first session will bring together researchers in environment and climate to foster collaboration and knowledge sharing. Researchers come from the atmosphere, marine, biodiversity, ecosystems, and solid earth domains. Besides, it involves data product developers, data scientists, and -engineers.

The session aims to share insights and real-world examples of Research Infrastructure that helped research or scientific development projects. If you:

  • used data analytics and visualisation to make data-driven discoveries;
  • demonstrated data collection and quality control expertise;
  • utilised infrastructures and cloud services to expedite your research;

Or overcome data access challenges, we want to hear about your experience. Contribute to the discussion on how Research Infrastructures contribute to doing science! You can participate in the session by submitting abstracts for oral or poster presentations. For more information, please visit this page. Please submit your contribution by 10 January 2024 at 13.00 CET.

A deep dive into data integration, Virtual Research Environments and more.

In the second session, we will conduct a training course that brings together environmental researchers, data developers, scientists, and engineers. This course provides practical and hands-on opportunities to enhance your understanding of data integration, Virtual Research Environments (VREs), web services, and their significance in environmental science. The course will also address the challenges faced while customising and running data workflows on the cloud using Jupyter Notebooks, which are time-consuming and complex processes. Participants will learn about the key technologies for notebook containerisation, workflow composition, and cloud automation in a Jupyter notebook-based VRE. We will also guide attendees to explore science cases in ecology and biodiversity virtual labs, making it a comprehensive and practical learning experience.

Building the digital replica of our seas: an open call to activate sleeping biodiversity data

The Horizon Europe DTO-BioFlow project has launched an Open Call offering up to 60,000€ for institutions that manage marine biodiversity data, to invite them to contribute to the European Digital Twin of the Ocean (EU DTO) by making these data available to the public domain through EMODnet Biology, the portal that provides open and free access to interoperable data and data products on temporal and spatial distribution of marine species (angiosperms, benthos, birds, fish, macroalgae, mammals, reptiles, phyto- and zooplankton) from European regional seas. Published officially on Tuesday, October 31st, this single-stage call is open to a wide range of marine biodiversity data holders, including European networks, citizen science organisations, research institutes, universities, and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) until January 17th at 17:00 CET. 

The primary goal of the call is to establish workflows and procedures that promote and facilitate the sharing of critical missing marine biodiversity data, and ultimately to facilitate sustained and long-term ingestion of previously inaccessible data into the European Digital Twin of the Ocean (EU DTO).

Marine habitats present specific and one-of-a-kind challenges when it comes to observing, mapping, and monitoring biodiversity. A myriad of actors (researchers, public bodies, blue economy operators, NGOs and citizen science groups) are collecting marine biodiversity data for various purposes and using a diverse set of collection methods. In spite of the fact that significant advancement has been made in Europe to collect, harmonise, and make available data on marine biodiversity, a large portion of data remains unavailable or inaccessible, which limits its societal value and weakens the capacities of digital twins to simulate and study “what if” scenarios enabling effective conservation, management and policy development. This type of data is referred to as “sleeping data.” 

To activate these sleeping data, third parties can access a maximum funding amount of 60,000€ through this call to establish a sustained data flow to the EU DTO, by performing activities which include developing data flow pipelines, ensuring the data is formatted, standardized, and quality-controlled conforming to the relevant international standards and ensuring the data complies to Open Access.

The evaluation process is scheduled to occur from January 18th to February 8th, 2024. Eligible proposals will be selected based on multiple criteria, including their relevance, potential impact, ability to sustain data flow and automate processes, uniqueness, and overall proposal quality.

Applicants should submit their application through the Open Call webform here.