BioDT presents the new Digital Twin prototype to preserve honey bees’ performance and environmental biodiversity

honey bees

Honey bees (Apis mellifera) are crucial pollinators and producers. Despite their key role in agriculture, food production and security, and ultimately in human health and ecosystem well-being, they face multiple threats: habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation, pollution, pesticides, pests and pathogens, changes in land use and climate change impacts are putting at risk their survival, causing their decline worldwide. 

On May 25, BioDT presented its prototype Digital Twin (pDT) for Pollinators during the online event Biodiversity in Focus. By combining real-world data with advanced simulation techniques, the new prototype provides practical insights into honey bee performance and honey production by evaluating landscape quality. The goal of the BioDT project – in which LifeWatch ERIC is one of the partners – is to push the current boundaries of predictive understanding of biodiversity dynamics by developing a Digital Twin that provides advanced modelling, simulation, and prediction capabilities.

The DT for Pollinators aims to address honey bees’ challenges, such as intensive agriculture, diseases, and fluctuations in nectar and pollen availability. Based on the BEEHAVE model, this prototype supports use cases involving large input data, like analysing datasets from multiple countries. 

The health of honey bees depends on their environments, where consistent availability of nectar and pollen is vital, particularly during times when mass-flowering crops such as oilseed rape are not in bloom.

This Digital Twin prototype represents a fusion of advanced technology and practicality to allow a generic assessment of agricultural areas for honey bee health, says Dr Jürgen Groeneveld from the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental ResearchUFZ in Leipzig. By providing tools that are accessible, scalable, and adaptable, we aim to empower biodiversity researchers and conservationists in their mission to protect our planet’s vital ecosystems.

On the technical side, the prototype relies on a solid foundation. Custom scripts specify input data and transform it into readable input files. Researchers can deploy all necessary software components into a Docker container image on the LUMI supercomputer and cloud platforms. For more information on its development, you can consult the repository page on GitHub.

In future updates, BioDT plans to include land cover data, land cover types converted into nectar and pollen resources, and weather data, adapting it for diverse geographic areas. This way, researchers and conservationists worldwide could leverage BioDT’s capabilities in their biodiversity conservation efforts. Jesse Harrison, Developer Manager at CSC and former Project Manager of BioDT, highlighted the Pollinators DT’s potential for biodiversity conservation and announced that further versions of this prototype will expand BioDT’s mission beyond honey bee performance. He said to envision the development of further prototype Digital Twins, each addressing critical biodiversity challenges.

Test the first BioDT prototype Digital Twin on pollinator! 
Source: BioDT press release – To learn more about the Digital Twin for Pollinators and to test it, please visit this page:

BioDT Annual Meeting 2024: Shaping the Future of Biodiversity Research

BioDT Annual Meeting

LifeWatch ERIC participated in the 2024 Annual Meeting of the Biodiversity Digital Twin (BioDT) project, which took place on 11-12 June 2024 at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) in Leipzig, Germany. The meeting had a hybrid format, allowing both in-person and remote participation.

The meeting covered the operational models of pDTs (physical Digital Twins) and sustainable pathways beyond the project’s lifecycle. It also discussed outreach, promotion, and training strategies for pDTs, as well as a Winter/Spring School that will take place most likely at the end of February 2025.

Additionally, the BioDT Annual Meeting was an occasion to share and validate progress of the technical architecture of the BioDT project as a whole and the related app, to discuss modelling and embedding scientific models into digital twins focusing on biodiversity, and to analyse data streams aligned with FAIR principles.

To learn more about the meeting, please visit the dedicated web page:

About the BioDT Project

BioDT represented a groundbreaking effort to redefine our predictive understanding of biodiversity dynamics. By leveraging advanced modelling, simulation, and prediction capabilities, BioDT aimed to provide critical infrastructure to drive long-term biodiversity research, facilitate science-driven policy, and enable rapid-response actions. 

LifeWatch ERIC for Blue Innovation at the Port of Cádiz

blue innovation

The Port Authority of the Bay of Cádiz has kickstarted its blue innovation strategy with the Conference ‘Innovation at the service of port competitiveness’, featuring the participation of local, national and international agents in the field of innovation, research and entrepreneurship. Among these were LifeWatch ERIC, Puertos del Estado (Spanish government), the University of Cádiz, Telefónica, Archangelus Systems and Total Maritime Solutions.

President of the Port Authority, Teófila Martínez, who in turn chairs the RETE Association for Collaboration Between Ports and Cities, explained “the need to intensify innovation efforts in order to assume and assimilate the technological revolution and the impact it has on ports. Our goal is to create a culture of innovation and take a proactive role in promoting sustainable development which involves everyone”. José Llorca, responsible for Innovation at Puertos del Estado and the government’s Ports 4.0 Fund, then highlighted the role of the LifeWatch ERIC digital infrastructure as a promoter of change.

LifeWatch ERIC CTO, Juan Miguel González-Aranda, explained how LifeBlock technology, developed by the LifeWatch ERIC ICT-Core, can help integrate biodiversity protection into port development. One way is through ‘smart contracts’ for the port authority to manage the use of natural resources and guarantee compliance with environmental regulations. For example, for the discharge of wastewater, or regulating the use of goods transit areas, or blue carbon tokenisation, or sustainable fishing and smart market management. To this end, all the stakeholders in the port ecosystem would be involved, to generate trust and promote participatory governance in decisions.

Another path that LifeWatch ERIC proposes is the development of a digital twin for environmental impact and monitoring of the marine or coastal ecosystems affected by port activity, in synergy with similar initiatives in Europe such as the BioDT project, in which LifeWatch ERIC is co-responsible for international deployment by creating IaaS, PaaS and SaaS models, through the provision of user-friendly interfaces.

For the Port in the Bay of Cádiz, the following key actions have been identified in order to monitor and control the spread of invasive alien species; the protection of seabed and reef habitats, to help assess environmental quality and ecosystem services in ports, including an ecological assessment of operations such as dredging, and the validation of preventive and corrective mechanisms to improve the quality of water bodies. 

LifeWatch ERIC offers its collaboration for the port’s blue innovation through financial instruments with which it is working, such as within the Horizon Europe programme’s Climate, Energy and Mobility Cluster, on ‘Climate resilient and safe maritime ports’; or the ‘Demonstration of DC powered data centres, buildings, industries and ports’. Within the Food, Bioeconomy, Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment Cluster is the ‘Demonstration of marine and coastal infrastructures as hybrid blue-grey Nature-based Solutions’, and ‘Invasive alien species’. Finally, within Missions – Adaptation to Climate Change, is ‘Testing and demonstrating transformative solutions to protect critical infrastructure from climate change, mainstreaming nature-based solutions’.