Big Seashell Survey 2023

Big Seashell Survey 2023

LifeWatch Belgium invites you on Saturday 25 March 2023 to one of the 10 coastal municipalities along the Belgian coast for the sixth Belgian Big Seashell Survey. On that day, hundreds of amateur scientists and citizens will determine which shells have washed up on the beaches. This can give us a better picture of the changes in marine life in the Belgian part of the North Sea. Like effects of climate change, human constructions, or the arrival and spreading of non-indigenous species…

You will be collecting shells, admiring them and trying to figure out what species they are. At the same time, you will also give science a boost. In each of the ten coastal municipalities, shell experts will help you collect and identify your hundred beach shells at the counting stations between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. When hundreds of enthusiasts do so, we all learn a lot more about these fascinating marine animals. Experienced or not, anyone can become a (marine) scientist for one day!

On site, there are also some fun activities tailored to children (in Dutch only). More information at (in Dutch only).

The Big Seashell Survey goes international!

The Netherlands and northern France will also be using the same technique on Saturday 25 March. Will we find the same shells in northern France as in Belgium or the Netherlands? The Big Seashell Survey is an initiative of the Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ), the Province of West Flanders, EOS magazine, the Strandwerkgroep, Natuurpunt, Kusterfgoed and the coastal municipalities.

LifeWatch ERIC BEeS Biodiversity and Ecosystem eScience Conference

Bees Conference

Seville, Spain, 22–24 May 2023.

This Biodiversity Day, don’t miss out on the LifeWatch ERIC BEes Biodiversity and Ecosystem eScience Conference “Threats and challenges to biodiversity and ecosystem conservation from an eScience perspective”.

Submit your abstracts until 30 April on the following topics: major threats to the Earth’s biodiversity and ecosystem health, Macroecological and biogeographical approaches to biodiversity conservation, Ecosystem and habitat mapping, Animal biology and behavioral traits, “System of systems” biodiversity observation, Biodiversity and ecosystem responses to climate change, and finally, Natural capital and the “One Health” approach. There will also be a round table on the theme of World Biodiversity Day, moderated by LifeWatch ERIC and keynote speakers.

Visit the conference minisite to sign up and/or submit your abstract.

LifeWatch Belgium Biodiversity Day

LW BE Biodiversity Day

Brussels, Belgium, 26 January 2022.

Join LifeWatch Belgium on 26 January 2022 (09:30 – 17:00 CET) for their annual event on biodiversity, where science meets citizens, policy and industry.

The second LifeWatch Belgium Biodiversity Day (postponed from the original date in October due to strikes) will focus on biotope and habitat mapping in biodiversity and ecosystem research – this technique provides the essential data for biodiversity research and conservation. Prepare for an overview of open remote sensing data and various practical applications in the field. Ready to discover, learn, connect and be inspired?

The event takes place at the KVAB (Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts), Palace of the Academies, Rue Ducale 1, 1000 Brussels.

More information about the programme and how to register (free; before 19 January) at



Belgian Coast, Belgium, 8 May 2022.

The Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ), coordinator of the LifeWatch Belgium consortium, is organising – together with Natuurpunt, SciVil, Iedereen Wetenschapper and EOS Magazine and many other organisations – the first citizen science festival of the Belgian coast: ZEEKERWETEN. It is a LifeWatch Belgium initiative.

During this open-air event, citizens can discover the biodiversity of the Belgian coastal region. Together with experts, they learn tricks and tools to make the invisible life at sea, on the beach, in the dunes and elsewhere on the coast visible. By doing that, they get the chance to become a real citizen scientist.

A surprising and fascinating day for young and old, moving scientific knowledge to a higher level!

Check the practical details and the program on (Dutch only).

Several LifeWatch Flanders colleagues will host interesting stands with fun hands-on activities.

Start/End: Sunday, May 8, 2022 – 10:00 to 16:00

Empowering Biodiversity Research Conference II

Empowering Biodiversity Research

Tervuren, Belgium, 24–25 May 2022.

The Empowering Biodiversity Research conference, EBR II, will take place 24–25 May 2022 at the AfricaMuseum in Tervuren. It will take you on a journey into the world of biodiversity data standards and tools and will inform you on the latest developments in the world of Biodiversity Informatics, on the state-of-the-art in initiatives like GBIF, LifeWatch ERIC, DiSSCo, etc. and how you can benefit from them.

EBR II aims to build a bridge between Biodiversity informatics and its relative “Bioinformatics” and investigate what their crossover can bring to Biodiversity Research. Genomic information meets digital taxonomy.

Want to present a poster? Submit your abstract until 31 March 2022.

Find more information about the Empowering Biodiversity Research Conference on their website.

LifeWatch Belgium is one of the co-organisers and will be presenting following topics:

  • LifeWatch Belgium
  • From remote sensing and GIS to model-oriented databases
  • The LifeWatch Species Information Backbone
  • BopCo
  • LifeWatch Fish Acoustic Receiver Network

In particular, LifeWatch VLIZ will be organising a workshop on Bringing Together Marine Biodiversity Environmental and Maritime Boundaries.

133080 Tervuren

Registration has been prolonged until 29 April 2022 – see the EBR website for more details.

Stay tuned for another workshop in September on Research Data Management!

5th edition of the Big Seashell Survey


All along the Flemish and Dutch coasts, 19 March 2022.

Who isn’t fascinated by shells on the beach? Picking up shells, admiring them and trying to find out the story behind the find. And if at all possible, to give science a helping hand at the same time. That is what the Big Seashell Survey is all about!

On Saturday 19 March 2022, the Big Seashell Survey will take place, as part of the LifeWatch Belgium programme. It is the fifth time this citizen science initiative has been organised. In each of the ten coastal municipalities, shell experts will help you collect and identify your hundred beach shells at the counting stations between 10 am and 4 pm. And if hundreds of enthusiasts do this, we all learn a lot more about these fascinating sea creatures. Experience or not, everyone can become a marine citizen scientist for a day!

For the first time this year, comparisons will be made between the shells found on Flemish beaches and those of the Netherlands. On the same day, the natural history museum Naturalis in Leiden will be holding a big seashell survey as well, on the beaches of the coastal province South Holland – as part of the event Leiden2022 – European City of Science. Are you also curious whether we will see big differences?

In addition, families with children can go to three provincial visitor centres (Duinpanne, Raversyde Anno 1465 and ZWIN Nature Park) for a playful introduction to shells (workshop in Dutch only). Afterwards, they will be fully prepared to collect and process a sample of shells at a counting station.

Find more information about this event on (in Dutch only).

Subscribe now on the website of EOS Iedereen Wetenschapper and receive the newsletter (in Dutch only) with the necessary information and keep up to date on the results (registration is free and not obligatory).

The Big Seashell Survey is an initiative of the Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ), EOS Wetenschap magazine, the Province of West Flanders, Natuurpunt, Strandwerkgroep, Kusterfgoed and the 10 coastal municipalities. Initiative within the framework of LifeWatch Belgium.

LifeWatch Biodiversity Day 2021

LifeWatch Biodiversity Day

Ghent, Belgium, 28 October 2021.

Venue: VAC (Virginie Lovelinggebouw), Koningin Maria Hendrikaplein 70, 9000 Ghent, Belgium.

Join us on 28 October 2021 for the first LifeWatch Biodiversity Day, a new inspiring event on biodiversity. This year’s theme is biologging and camera trapping: a technology that changed the world of animal research. #LifeWatchBD21

Please see the LifeWatch Belgium website for further information.

LifeWatch Belgium Users & Stakeholders Meeting

Users & Stakeholders Meeting

Brussels, Belgium, 19-20 November 2019. Get ready for two days of networking and collaboration at the LifeWatch Belgium Users & Stakeholders Meeting at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences!

During Day 1 (19/11), which will be open to all users and stakeholders of the Belgian LifeWatch infrastructure, a multitude of interesting user stories will showcase the individual projects that are going on and the immense progress LifeWatch Belgium is making. Furthermore, we are honoured to welcome LifeWatch CEO, Christos Arvanitidis, to this event!

Day 2 (20/11) will be an extended project meeting with the Belgian LifeWatch partners, and will be by invitation only. This meeting will focus on discussing internal affairs concerning LifeWatch Belgium, input towards the upcoming LifeWatch General Assembly and closer collaboration between the ongoing LifeWatch projects in Belgium.

Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (RBINS)
Vautierstraat 29
1000 Brussels

Tuesday, November 19, 2019 – 09:30 to Wednesday, November 20, 2019 – 16:00


LifeWatch Belgium 2nd Users & Stakeholders Meeting

Online, 15-16 October 2020. Due to the current Covid-19 situation, this year’s edition of the LifeWatch Users & Stakeholders Meeting will be entirely online!

On Day One, 15th October, the Belgian LifeWatch partners will bring a series of user stories, while on Day Two, 16th October,, specific aspects of the Belgian LifeWatch infrastructure will be demonstrated.

Registration is mandatory. Please register here. After registration you will receive a personal Zoom link that will be valid for both days.


Day One – Thursday October 15th 2020: User stories

10:00-10:20:    General introduction LifeWatch Belgium

10:20-10:35:    The World Ocean Assessment, a global exercise supported by the LifeWatch Species Information Backbone (Leen Vandepitte, VLIZ)

10:35-10:50:    Downstream migration through a shipping canal: challenges on the road (Jenna Vergeynst, UGent)

10:50-11:00:    Interactive questionnaire: which training is needed in the future?

11:00-11:15:    Comparison of methods to model species habitat networks for decision-making in nature conservation: the case of the wildcat in southern Belgium (Axel Bourdouxhe, LifeWatch-WB)

11:15-11:30:    mARS/POLA3R (

11:30-11:45:    The need for accurate and comprehensive DNA sequence databases to reliably identify species of policy concern (Kenny Meganck and Sophie Gombeer, BopCo)

11:45-12:00:    15 minutes of questions

12:00-12:10:    Closure of day 1 (outlook, prospects)

Day Two – Friday October 16th 2020: Demonstrations

10:00-10:05:    Short introduction

10:05-10:25:    LifeWatch data R package (VLIZ)

10:25-10:45:    Agouti: A platform for managing wildlife camera-trapping projects (INBO)

10:45-11:05:    Exploring the landscape via the ecotopes with GIS software (LifeWatch-WB)

11:05-11:25:    POLA3R (

11:25-11:45:    The process of DNA-based species identification: bushmeat as a case story (BopCo)

Please don’t hesitate to circulate this event in your networks!

Click here to link to the agenda.