Aneris Genomic Technologies workshop sets project parameters.

The ANERIS consortium, whose vision is to protect marine and coastal biodiversity through technological and scientific innovation, held a workshop at the InnocOcean Campus of the Flanders Marine Institute in Ostend, Belgium, 30-31 May 2023. The purpose of the two days was to explore the available genomic workflows currently used by the participating ERICs and associated partners and to share experiences.

Officially launched under the Horizon Europe programme on 21 March this year, ANERIS – whose 25 project partners from 13 different countries include LifeWatch ERIC – is coordinated by the Spanish Institut de Ciènces del Mar. At a time when marine and coastal biodiversity are under serious threat because of human activities, climate change and other factors, the four-year ANERIS research project seeks to protect these ecosystems by creating, testing and implementing the next generation of scientific tools and methods for marine life-sensing and monitoring.

LifeWatch ERIC’s participation in the Genomic Technologies workshop consisted of CEO Christos Arvanitidis and International Initiatives & Projects Manager, Cristina Huertas presenting a study and sampling design, including different hypotheses of which marine communities could be considered (e.g. intertidal, planktonic, benthic), which components to include (i.e. molecules), what type of information to collect, the scale of the sampling, etc..

These would be applied to two case studies within ANERIS project, by integrating learnings from previous initiatives, and connecting with other EU projects (Marbefes, Marco Bolo, BioDT,) and Open Science databases (WoRMS, GBIF). They also contributed to other discussions during the workshop on bioinformatics, sampling and the wet labs protocols.

Toward a network of operational marine biology: The ANERIS project has officially launched

ANERIS project

Marine and coastal biodiversity is under threat due to human activities, climate change and other factors. In order to protect and preserve these precious ecosystems, the new research project ANERIS has been launched under the Horizon Europe programme. Coordinated by the Institute of Marine Sciences ICM-CSIC, ANERIS is to protect these ecosystems through technological, scientific and methodological innovation in the fields of marine life-sensing and monitoring.

The aspiring work of ANERIS officially kicked-off with the project’s first consortium meeting, which took place on 8 and 9 March 2023 in Barcelona, Spain. Members of the 25 partnering organisations, including LifeWatch ERIC, gathered at ICM-CSIC to discuss the goals and objectives of the project, as well as the specific technologies and methods that will be used. 

Gathered by a joint mission, the ANERIS partners will work together for the next four years to build the next generation of marine-sensing instruments and infrastructure for systematic routine measurements and monitoring of oceanic and coastal life, and their rapid interpretation and dissemination to all interested stakeholders. In total, ANERIS aims to pioneer 11 new technologies related to marine ecosystem monitoring, data processing and dissemination:

  • NANOMICS – NAnopore sequeNcing for Operational Marine genomICS
  • MARGENODAT – workflows for the MARine GENOmics DAta managemenT
  • SLIM-2.0 – A Virtual Environment for genomic data analysis (ANERIS extended version)
  • EMUAS – Expandable Multi-imaging Underwater Acquisition System
  • AIES-ZOO – Automatic Information Extraction System for ZOOplankton images
  • AIES-PHY – Automatic Information Extraction System for PHYtoplankton images
  • ATIRES – Automatic underwaTer Image REstoration System
  • AIES-MAC – Automatic Information Extraction System for MACroorganisms
  • AMAMER – Advanced Multiplatform App for Marine lifE Reporting
  • AMOVALIH – Advanced Marine Observations VALidation-Identification system based on Hybrid intelligence
  • AWIMAR – Adaptive Web Interfaces for MARine life reporting, sharing and consulting

These technologies will be validated across four ANERIS case studies:

  • High-temporal resolution marine life monitoring in research infrastructure observatories;
  • Improved spatial and temporal resolution of marine life monitoring based on genomics;
  • Large scale marine participatory actions;
  • Merging imaging and genomic information in different monitoring scenarios.

During the second day of the ANERIS project kick-off meeting, which was kindly hosted by the members of the Catalan Federation of Underwater Activities (FECDAS), the partners began the co-design and co-creation processes of the technologies within each case study by brainstorming the specific knowledge gaps, their potential solutions, and how to achieve them within the project.

After two days of exciting discussions and some serious planning, the consortium feels confident that the project is starting off on the right foot. The ANERIS consortium members are committed to working together to achieve the project’s goals and to help preserve marine and coastal biodiversity for future generations. With this, we are eagerly looking forward to all the impactful achievements ANERIS is going to develop in the upcoming four years. 

Stay tuned on the ANERIS project channels for regular news and updates: