Metadata, Vocabularies & Ontologies

Metadata Vocabularies Ontologies

On 12 & 13 November, the LifeWatch ERIC Service Centre organised the first working meeting on “Metadata, Controlled Vocabularies and Ontologies” in Lecce, Italy.

The aim of the meeting was to set a roadmap for a common strategy to be adopted on these within the LifeWatch ERIC community and in accordance with the FAIR principles.

Great success for LifeWatch ERIC at EMBS53

The 53rd European Marine Biology Symposium, organised by LifeWatch Belgium and the Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ) in Ostend (Belgium, 17 – 21 September 2018), witnessed a great success with the participation of 169 researchers and academics from 25 different countries.

The “Science in a modern era” session focused exactly on these issues, featuring Christos Arvanitidis and Francisco Hernandez (Scientific responsible for LifeWatchGreece and LifeWatch Belgium, respectively) as its chairmen, and counted many oral communications from the LifeWatch ERIC community. LifeWatch ERIC was also featured in the “Science from a historical perspective” session and in the “Science in the North Sea” session.

The programme and all presented abstracts are available for download at the following address http://www.embs53.org/conference-programme

In parallel, LifeWatch Belgium exhibition booth allowed demonstrations of several infrastructure components of the Belgian marine LifeWatch observatory, such as plankton imaging devices, acoustic detection devices and the innovative underwater tripod with acoustic release system.

Should you wish to find out more about the symposium, information, abstract book and presentations are available on the conference website (http://www.embs53.org).

EMBS53: CALL FOR ABSTRACTS

17–21 September 2018 (Ostend, Belgium)

From 17–21 September 2018, the Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ) and LifeWatch Belgium will be organising the 53rd edition of the European Marine Biology Symposium (EMBS53) in Ostend, Belgium.

The EMBS53 Organising & Scientific Committee are pleased to welcome your abstract submissions for oral papers and scientific posters. We particularly welcome papers on ‘Marine Biology from a Historical Perspective’, ‘Science in a Modern Era’, ‘Marine and Coastal Citizen Science’ and ‘Science in the North Sea’. Submission can take place from 15 January – 15 April 2018.

Please note that no extensions to the deadline will be granted and that presenting authors are responsible for registration, travel and accommodation costs. Presenters who are unable to attend should arrange for another qualified individual to present the paper or poster in question (with notification to the Organising Committee).

We are glad to announce that the Journal of the Marine Biological Association (JMBA) kindly offers to publishing a special issue of the EMBS53 conference (October 2019). Everyone who contributes a poster or an oral presentation at the EMBS53 is invited to submit a manuscript by 7 December 2018. All manuscripts will go through a peer-review process.

Important dates

Registration & abstract submission opened: 15 January 2018
Deadline abstract submission (there will be NO extension of the deadlines): 15 April 2018
Notification on abstract acceptance: 15 May 2018
Deadline early bird registration: 31 May 2018
Deadline late registration: 31 August 2018
EMBS53: 17–21 September 2018

More information: www.embs53.org

LW BE 1st Users & Stakeholders Meeting

LifeWatch Belgium held its first Users & Stakeholders meeting in Ostend, on 25 and 26 January 2018.

The meeting was open to all known users and stakeholders of the Belgian LifeWatch infrastructure. In total, 87 participants from a multitude of Belgian research institutes and universities, registered for this very interesting and successful event.

Please read below for an account of the meeting.

The meeting was open to all known users and stakeholders of the Belgian LifeWatch infrastructure. In total, 87 participants from a multitude of Belgian research institutes and universities, registered for this very interesting and successful event.

Day 1 (Thursday January 25th 2018) started with a view from the science-policy perspective on the LifeWatch ESFRI; and an introduction about LifeWatch as a European e-science infrastructure to support biodiversity and ecosystem research. After a presentation about the LifeWatch Taxonomic Backbone, the Belgian LifeWatch partners each presented a comprehensive overview of their ongoing projects, the achieved results from the previous years and the future plans. The remainder of the day, these infrastructure projects and their applications were showcased more into detail in the form of several user stories.
 
Participants learned about (1) Catrein: towards a cameratrap research infrastructure; (2) DNA Barcoding for Forensics; (3) Detection and identification of mosquito species (Culicidae) in Belgium; (4) Saigas on the brink: multi-disciplinary analysis of the factors influencing mass mortality events; (5) The use of ecotopes for biodiversity conservation: the case of Violet Coper (Lycaena helle); (6) ANTABIS: feedback and perspectives from a long-term user; and (7) EMODnet Biology as a user of the LifeWatch infrastructure. Day 1 was concluded with 2 presentations by international LifeWatch partners: LifeWatch Greece and LifeWatch Sweden, thus demonstrating the international collaborations of LifeWatch Belgium.

On Day 2 (Friday January 26th 2018), the user stories continued: (8) Towards a qualitative spatial sensor network for long term observation of harbor porpoises; (9) Is this for (r)eel? Permanent fish tracking in Flanders with acoustic telemetry; (10) GPS-tracking migration and foraging movements of Western Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus breeding in the Low Countries; (11) From GPS data to daily decisions in 2 sympatric gull species; (12) Long-term monitoring of climate change effects on short vegetation; (13) Building and using the MarineSPEED benchmark dataset; and (14) Linking occurrences, traits and the environment to map the diversity of marine life.

During Friday afternoon, twelve demonstrations were organized to familiarize participants with LifeWatch tools and systems. Guided demo tours led the participants through interactive demonstrations on LifeWatch Data Explorer; Swedish LifeWatch Analysis Portal; New Antarctic Biodiversity Data Portal; European Tracking Network (ETN); Live demo of the camera traps; Live demo of the ZooScan; LifeWatch Taxonomic Backbone; LifeWatch Marine VRE; LifeWatch Wallonia-Brussels WebGIS; Knock knock, who’s there? (bat calls); RGBIF package; and WateRinfo package.

The agenda can be consulted on the link below. The user stories abstract booklet can be downloaded here.

The event clearly demonstrated that the Belgian LifeWatch community is quite active. The multitude of interesting and impressive user stories showcased the individual projects that are going on and the immense progress LifeWatch Belgium is making.

High-tech LifeWatch observatory reveals marine life in North Sea

LifeWatch Belgium, as a part of the European LifeWatch infrastructure, can be considered as a virtual laboratory for biodiversity research. With the support of Flanders to LifeWatch, VLIZ has developed a Marine Observatory. It aims to collect scientific data with innovative technology in an automated manner, and to make these data freely available to all potential users. On the one hand, several innovative devices to map phytoplankton (Flow Cytometer) and zooplankton (Video Plankton Recorder) are used during monthly campaigns in the Belgian part of the North Sea. On the other hand, four passive networks register and detect the presence of larger organisms (birds, porpoises, bats and fish) with a minimal human effort.

Towards a European fish tracking network
In 2012 the development of an acoustic receiver network to follow fish was built by the Institute for Nature and Forest Research (INBO), Ghent University (UGent) and the Flanders Marine Insitute (VLIZ). Currently the network consists of 166 receivers, spread over the Belgian part of the North Sea, the Western Scheldt and various Belgian rivers and canals. Since the start of the project more than 800 fish were tagged already, mainly of highly endangered species like eels, cod and salmon.

Fish often migrate over large distances, between different habitats (like between fresh and salt water) and across national borders. Similar foreign networks can help in detecting the ‘Belgian’ tagged fish, and vice versa. That is why in the framework of the EU Horizon 2020 project AtlantOS, a large-scale European tracking network (ETN) was set up in 2017 in collaboration with LifeWatch, and which included the existing Belgian network. In order to keep track of the multitude of data resulting from this tracking network in a coordinated manner, VLIZ set up a data management platform. This system allows (meta) data to be added to the database, edited and consulted.

Passive acoustic network for cetaceans
The cetacean passive acoustic network is a network of acoustic receivers (set up by VLIZ and OD Nature), that detects the echolocation sound of porpoises and dolphins. Harbor porpoises, dolphins and whales produce clicking sounds with different frequencies to obtain an exact picture of their surroundings. Via C-PODs (passive acoustic devices) hung in the water, the clicking sounds of marine mammals are registered in the vicinity of the device.

Since the start up of the LifeWatch Observatory project, VLIZ has already installed eight C-PODs in the Belgian part of the North Sea, fixed to buoys, shipwrecks or artificial hard structures. The eight measuring devices lie on a line that runs from east to west and covers both near shore, the mid and offshore zones of the Belgian part of the North Sea. Regularly experts come together to discuss the results and progress of this sensor network.

Bat detection network along the coast and at sea
The bat detection network is a network of passive acoustic receivers (batcorders) that can perceive the echolocation sounds of bats. These flying mammals use echolocation to orient themselves and to search for prey. The call of bats vary between species and can thus provide information on species-specific behavior. The LifeWatch bat detecting network observes two peaks in bat numbers along the Belgian coast throughout the year, one in spring and one in autumn. These are caused by migrating bats.

During bat migration estuaries seem to be key areas. To collect information about the specific functions that estuaries offer to bats, batcorders were installed in the nature reserves of The Zwin (Knokke-Heist) and The Ijzermonding (Nieuwpoort). There is also a measuring point at the Marine Station Ostend and an offshore measuring point at a windturbine on the Thornton Bank. Species of bats that are frequently observed in our coastal areas are the common pipistrelle, the Nathusius’s pipistrelle, the common noctule, the serotine bat and the daubenton’s bat.


Bird tracking network
The GPS tracking network for birds is a sensor network that maps the habitat use and migration patterns of large birds such as the European herring gull, the lesser black-backed gull and the western marsh harrier. The INBO coordinates the research in collaboration with Ghent University (Research Group Terrestrial Ecology) and the University of Amsterdam. To date, 154 seagulls and 6 harriers have received a tracked and a name. Their locations (both historically and in real time) can be easily accessed via the online birdmap. VLIZ is responsible for the installation, maintenance and data flow of the sensor network.
 
LifeWatch Belgium: where does it stand in 2018?
The progress of these different networks, as well as the entire Belgian LifeWatch infrastructure (including the terrestrial component), was presented to the users and interested parties of the Belgian LifeWatch infrastructure on a two-day meeting at the end of January 2018. With 87 participants from various Belgian research institutions and universities, the event – which took place at VLIZ – was a great success. More information about the progress that LifeWatch Belgium has already made and the various user stories presented during the meeting can be found on the LifeWatch Belgium website.

Do you want to get started yourself? Be sure to check out the interactive map with all sensors of the observatory. Or just start exploring the data generated within the LifeWatch Belgium Marine Observatory.

Link: http://www.lifewatch.be/en/sensors

Interim Executive Board Meeting

Form 26 – 29 June 2017, the Interim Executive Board of LifeWatch ERIC took place in Melpignano, Lecce, in the magnificent and recently renovated Palazzo Marchesale.

The meeting, hosted by the LifeWatch ERIC Service Centre, thanks to the support of the Town of Melpignano, was the first operative session of the infrastructure, after the I General Assembly held in Seville. Representatives from Spain, The Netherlands, Belgium, Greece and, obviously, Italy, had been meeting for four days to draft the strategical lines of the operative construction of the infrastructure, based on the valorisation of what already produced in the course of the preparatory phase.

Welcome, LifeWatch ERIC!

Deepening biodiversity and ecosystem related issues has become a crucial value in contemporary society, which is tackling global scale challenges on capital elements, such as resource supply, economic development, environmental security and human well-being. The European Commission recognises research in this area as a priority, moving further from the punctual programmes funding the many fixed-term projects, to the institution of a European Research Infrastructure Consortium, as a long term strategy to ensure sustainability of research. Welcome, LifeWatch ERIC!

LifeWatch ERIC is the 14th European research infrastructure to be granted this important status, and it is composed by eight founding member states and three common facilities. Through the use of the ICT, the infrastructure guarantees the access to big sets of data on biodiversity, ensuring their standardisation and interoperability, and providing researchers and institutions with tools and services allowing the creation of customised virtual research environments, supporting policy making.

Italy, through its Ministry for Education, University and Research (MIUR) and its National Research Council (CNR), plays a key role in LifeWatch ERIC, hosting its Service Centre, one of the three common facilities, at the University of Salento, and contributing with its e-Biodiversity Research Institute, powered by a Joint Research Unit counting more than 30 among top level universities, national institutes, regional agencies and academies of the country.

On 8 and 9  May 2017, the first General Assembly of LifeWatch ERIC took place in Seville (Spain), and elected the interim members of the statutory bodies which will manage the Consortium until the formal ones will be appointed. Prof. Alberto Basset has been named interim Director of the Service Centre and interim Member of the Executive Board.

On 23 May 2017, European Commission Director-General for Research & Innovation, Robert Jan-Smits, awarded the LifeWatch ERIC Plate to the Spanish Secretary of State for Research, Development & Innovation, Carmen Vela, who received it on behalf of the entire LifeWatch ERIC community.

Welcome, LifeWatch ERIC!

To see the LifeWatch ERIC statutes, please click here.

You can find the Communication of the European Commission here.

High-tech LifeWatch observatory reveals marine life in North Sea

LifeWatch Belgium, as a part of the European LifeWatch infrastructure, can be considered as a virtual laboratory for biodiversity research. With the support of Flanders to LifeWatch, VLIZ has developed a Marine Observatory. It aims to collect scientific data with innovative technology in an automated manner, and to make these data freely available to all potential users. On the one hand, several innovative devices to map phytoplankton (Flow Cytometer) and zooplankton (Video Plankton Recorder) are used during monthly campaigns in the Belgian part of the North Sea. On the other hand, four passive networks register and detect the presence of larger organisms (birds, porpoises, bats and fish) with a minimal human effort.

Towards a European fish tracking network
In 2012 the development of an acoustic receiver network to follow fish was built by the Institute for Nature and Forest Research (INBO), Ghent University (UGent) and the Flanders Marine Insitute (VLIZ). Currently the network consists of 166 receivers, spread over the Belgian part of the North Sea, the Western Scheldt and various Belgian rivers and canals. Since the start of the project more than 800 fish were tagged already, mainly of highly endangered species like eels, cod and salmon.

Fish often migrate over large distances, between different habitats (like between fresh and salt water) and across national borders. Similar foreign networks can help in detecting the ‘Belgian’ tagged fish, and vice versa. That is why in the framework of the EU Horizon 2020 project AtlantOS, a large-scale European tracking network (ETN) was set up in 2017 in collaboration with LifeWatch, and which included the existing Belgian network. In order to keep track of the multitude of data resulting from this tracking network in a coordinated manner, VLIZ set up a data management platform. This system allows (meta) data to be added to the database, edited and consulted.

Passive acoustic network for cetaceans
The cetacean passive acoustic network is a network of acoustic receivers (set up by VLIZ and OD Nature), that detects the echolocation sound of porpoises and dolphins. Harbor porpoises, dolphins and whales produce clicking sounds with different frequencies to obtain an exact picture of their surroundings. Via C-PODs (passive acoustic devices) hung in the water, the clicking sounds of marine mammals are registered in the vicinity of the device.

Since the start up of the LifeWatch Observatory project, VLIZ has already installed eight C-PODs in the Belgian part of the North Sea, fixed to buoys, shipwrecks or artificial hard structures. The eight measuring devices lies on a line that runs from east to west and covers both near shore, the mid and offshore zones of the Belgian part of the North Sea. Regularly experts come together to discuss the results and progress of this sensor network.

Bat detection network along the coast and at sea
The bat detection network is a network of passive acoustic receivers (batcorders) that can perceive the echolocation sounds of bats. These flying mammals use echolocation to orient themselves and to search for prey. The call of bats vary between species and can thus provide information on species-specific behavior. The LifeWatch bat detecting network observes two peaks in bat numbers along the Belgian coast throughout the year, one in spring and one in autumn. These are caused by migrating bats.

During bat migration estuaries seem to be key areas. To collect information about the specific functions that estuaries offer to bats, batcorders were installed in the nature reserves of The Zwin (Knokke-Heist) and The Ijzermonding (Nieuwpoort). There is also a measuring point at the Marine Station Ostend and an offshore measuring point at a windturbine on the Thornton Bank. Species of bats that are frequently observed in our coastal areas are the common pipistrelle, the Nathusius’s pipistrelle, the common noctule, the serotine bat and the daubenton’s bat.


Bird tracking network
The GPS tracking network for birds is a sensor network that maps the habitat use and migration patterns of large birds such as the European herring gull, the lesser black-backed gull and the western marsh harrier. The INBO coordinates the research in collaboration with Ghent University (Research Group Terrestrial Ecology) and the University of Amsterdam. To date, 154 seagulls and 6 harriers have received a tracked and a name. Their locations (both historically and in real time) can be easily accessed via the online birdmap. VLIZ is responsible for the installation, maintenance and data flow of the sensor network.
 
LifeWatch Belgium: where does it stand in 2018?
The progress of these different networks, as well as the entire Belgian LifeWatch infrastructure (including the terrestrial component), was presented to the users and interested parties of the Belgian LifeWatch infrastructure on a two-day meeting at the end of January 2018. With 87 participants from various Belgian research institutions and universities, the event – which took place at VLIZ – was a great success. More information about the progress that LifeWatch Belgium has already made and the various user stories presented during the meeting can be found on the LifeWatch Belgium website.

Do you want to get started yourself? Be sure to check out the interactive map with all sensors of the observatory. Or just start exploring the data generated within the LifeWatch Belgium Marine Observatory.

Link: http://www.lifewatch.be/en/sensors

LifeWatch Belgium Infrastructure User Meeting

On Monday May 23rd, the second LifeWatch.be Infrastructure User Meeting was organized at the Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ) in Ostend. During this full-day event, users of the LifeWatch.be infrastructure were given the chance to present their ongoing research and first results. This event was also the perfect networking opportunity for the Belgian LifeWatch partners, researchers, PhD students, LifeWatch Belgium supporters, etc.

During the morning session and the first part of the afternoon, several ongoing individual research projects within the Belgian LifeWatch infrastructure were presented. Since the previous edition (June 2014), many additional research projects started and a lot of progress has been made: while the previous meeting was limited to describing the infrastructure itself and laying out some future plans, during the meeting on Monday all presenters were able to show some (first) results and ongoing analyses of their research.

The last three presentations of the day were aimed at the more general use of the infrastructure: how the LifeWatch Taxonomic Backbone can be of use to you, which workshops are being organized as a service to the users, and which are the most recent LifeWatch e-infrastructure developments.

Please view the agenda and report of the meeting.