Call for nominations for the WoRMS Top-Ten Marine Species of 2022

WoRMS Marine Species 2022

Once again, taxonomists have continued to publish many wonderful new species throughout last year. With the end of 2022 it is time to think about nominations for The WoRMS Top Ten Marine Species of 2022!

The aim of this list is to highlight the fascinating discoveries of the numerous new marine species being made every year, to the wider public. The 2021 winners span the tree of life, from coccolithophores to jellyfish to whales – see the full 2021 list here.

WoRMS (run by VLIZ, focal point of LifeWatch Belgium) plans to release the list to coincide with World Taxonomist Appreciation Day – 19 March!  If you were unaware of this celebration of all the work that Taxonomists do, you can find more here, and here.  

Please submit your nominations for your favorite species via this form. You are welcome to share this message with colleagues!

The species must have been published in 2022 (validly published between 01/01/2022 and 31/12/2022), must be marine, and can be a fossil species.

Please include the completed form and:

  • A pdf of the paper in which the species was described.
  • At least one good image of the species (with copyright and ownership information).

Good examples will have a compelling story behind the description, e.g. rare or unusual morphology, an interesting name, importance to society e.g for conservation/ medical importance/ toxic/ dangerous.  

WoRMS also needs help deciding on the final list. Self-nomination for the decision panel is welcome.  The decisions will be made via email discussion/vote.  

Please send your nominations, offers to volunteer to join the decision committee, or questions to info@marinespecies.org with the subject ‘Top-Ten Marine Species’.

But hurry! The closing date for submission of nominations is Friday 3 February 2023 to enable the decision and preparation of the pages in time for 19 March 2023.

Addressing climate change, biodiversity loss and habitat degradation towards a sustainable management of European wetlands

RESTORE4CS

RESTORE4Cs, a freshly started project led by the University of Aveiro, will address management and restoration actions to maintain and promote the mitigation and adaptation capacity of European wetlands to climate change, while focusing on coastal wetlands and providing innovative tools and methodologies for decision making and restoration planning and actions.

What is the potential of wetlands? How can multiple challenges such as climate mitigation and adaptation, biodiversity conservation, disaster risk reduction and other threats to ecosystem services be tackled to foster mutually reinforcing actions and enhance co-benefits from wetland restoration?

All major European Union (EU) policies recognise the key role of wetlands to achieve the EU objectives regarding climate neutrality, biodiversity protection, zero-pollution, flood protection, and circular economy. Therefore, assessing the current extent and state of European wetlands, their current and potential greenhouse gases (GHG) profile and their medium to long-term mitigation capacity through restoration, or other measures, are key priorities of the European Union to tackle climate change. Led by the University of Aveiro, the recently awarded Horizon project RESTORE4Cs (Modelling RESTORation of wEtlands for Carbon pathways, Climate Change mitigation and adaptation, ecosystem services, and biodiversity, Co-benefits) will assess the role of restoration action on wetlands capacity in terms of climate change mitigation and a wide range of ecosystem services using an integrative socio-ecological systems approach. 

The kick-off meeting, held in Aveiro from 16 to 19 January, has officially marked the start of the project consortium’s activities, gathering representatives of 15 partners from 9 European countries, including universities, research institutes and infrastructures, small and medium enterprises, intergovernmental organisations and NGOs, bringing together a well-structured and multi-disciplinary team, holding all the essential expertise to be at the forefront of the research/policy interface. The meeting agenda covers all aspects of the project implementation, spanning from administrative issues, overview of the state of the art, coordination, communication and organisation of the work. Case pilot sites have been presented by the related local teams and a first visit in the field has been organised in the area pertaining to Ria de Aveiro.

Focusing on coastal wetlands across Europe, RESTORE4Cs will deliver standardised methodologies and approaches for the prioritisation of restoration, promoting carbon-storage and GHG emissions abatement, while improving the ecological status and the provision of additional ecosystem services, such as flood regulation and coastal erosion protection. More in detail, the project will provide online, user-friendly and integrated tools as unique entry points for wetland practitioners and decision makers regarding the prioritisation of conservation and restoration actions, in relation with their GHG performance as well as impacts on biodiversity and a wide range of ecosystem services while addressing in parallel three spatial scales (local, national, regional/pan-European) combined with the three targeted habitats (wetlands, floodplans and peatlands).

See the full press release, with more information on the project breakdown and consortium members, here.

LifeWatch ERIC and Andalusian Government Announce Details on SmartFood Nanosatellite Launch

SmartFood nanosatellite launch

The Councillor for Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development of the Junta de Andalucía, Carmen Crespo, was welcomed to LifeWatch ERIC’s ICT-Core office in Seville yesterday, accompanied by the director of the Andalusian Agricultural and Fisheries Management Agency (AGAPA), José Carlos Álvarez, to discuss trailblazing agroecology initiatives which will have wide-ranging impacts. 2023 is an exciting year for LifeWatch ERIC, as it gains traction in the EU research and innovation sector.

LifeWatch ERIC has a strong historic collaboration with the Junta de Andalucía, one such synergy being with the AGAPA on the ERDF SmartFood project, for which a nanosatellite equipped with a very high resolution multispectral camera will be launched in October this year from a Space X base in the United States. The aim of the SmartFood project is to monitor the impact of agriculture, livestock and fishing on the sustainable management of biodiversity and ecosystems ­– LifeWatch ERIC has the technological lead here, and is creating the nanosatellite mission control centre “eBRIC” (eBiodiversity Research & Innovation International Centre) in the Doñana National Park, in partnership with the University of Huelva. Among other things, the centre will focus on interconnected sensorisation at the terrestrial, atmospheric (observation stations, drones) and spatial level (satellites); the study of invasive species; aquifer conservation; native flora and fauna protection; and virtual laboratories for scientific research in the Cloud, using ICT such as Big Data, Artificial-Deep Intelligence “Deep Learning”, and especially Blockchain, through the LifeWatch ERIC LifeBlock tool. The infrastructure conceives the e-BRIC as an international reference centre for Europe, Africa, and Latin America and the Caribbean, aligned with the United Nations through the UNOOSA Office for Biodiversity and Climate Change.

Crespo also congratulated the infrastructure on being chosen to play a key technological role in the AELLRI EU Partnership initiative proposed by the European Commission, as part of the Horizon Europe topic provisionally entitled “Accelerating farming systems transition: agroecology living labs and research infrastructures”, to pioneer the EU’s agricultural transition towards sustainable agroecological models. She highlighted “the importance of the research work carried out by Lifewatch ERIC, offering important data that allows better decisions to be made in the pursuit of sustainable agriculture and preserving biodiversity”, citing how these technological innovations will support Andalusia in reaching and maintaining EU ecological agricultural objectives, both on land and at sea.

CTO Juan Miguel González-Aranda underlined the importance of the agricultural, fishing and livestock sector within the green and blue development paradigms, in coordination with the Green Deal and Blue Growth policies of the EU, and expressed his gratitude for the institutional support, especially from the Ministry of Agriculture, pointing out that “biodiversity cannot turn its back on the primary sector, which is so important for the Autonomous Community of Andalusia”.

Kick-off meeting of ITINERIS, the Integrated Environmental Research Infrastructures System

ITINERIS

On 19 December 2022, the kick-off meeting of ITINERIS, the Italian Integrated Environmental Research Infrastructures System, was held in Rome. The project, funded with €155 million from the PNRR and coordinated by the CNR (the Italian National Research Centre), involves 22 European research infrastructures.

Gelsomina Pappalardo, CNR researcher and Italian delegate at the ESFRI Forum, who chaired the event, highlighted that: “this is a unique project of its kind, even if it has a formal duration of 30 months, it will change the future of Research Infrastructures in Italy with an impact on research for at least the next ten years”. The project aims to establish an Italian hub for accessing data, services and facilities for interdisciplinary study in the four environmental domains: atmosphere, marine, terrestrial biosphere and geosphere.

Work Package 2 of the project, presented by Carmela Cornacchia (CNR-IMAA Potenza) in collaboration with Ilaria Rosati (CNR-IRET Lecce and LifeWatch Italy) is in fact dedicated to “access”. Access to research infrastructures refers to the regulated use of research infrastructures, and to the services offered by them, be it physical, remote, or virtual access – as in the case of data and digital services. With WP2, ITINERIS aims to ensure the FAIRness of the access as well (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reproducible). The challenge is to coordinate the 22 infrastructures towards alignment with the requirements set by the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC).

WP3, coordinated by Alberto Basset, Director of the LifeWatch ERIC Service Centre and Manager of the LifeWatch Italy Joint Research Unit (JRU), will take care of training internal staff and future users of the infrastructures. More than 60 training courses are foreseen for the next 30 months.

After the presentation of WP4, 5, 6 and 7 dedicated to the four domains, each with the development of specific case studies, Antonello Provenzale, CNR-IGG and Coordinator of the LifeWatch Italy JRU, presented WP8. This WP will develop the Virtual Research Environments for data analysis and modelling of future scenarios in ITINERIS’ domains of interest. “Having a central hub that functions as a gateway for users to the infrastructures” said Provenzale, “will make us an example at a European level”.

Article originally posted on LifeWatch Italy.

LifeWatch ERIC Contributes to United Nations COP15 Biodiversity Conference in Montreal

COP15

COP15, the United Nations Biodiversity Conference, is not as well-known as the COP27, the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention and Climate Change, held last month in Egypt. However, the Biodiversity Conference, 7-19 December in Montreal, Canada, is the most significant conference on biodiversity in a decade because it will see the adoption of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework, which provides a strategic vision and a global roadmap for the conservation, protection, restoration and sustainable management of biodiversity and ecosystems for the next 10 years.

LifeWatch ERIC, the European Infrastructure for biodiversity and ecosystem research, was represented, virtually, by Chief Technology Officer and Executive Board member Juan Miguel González-Aranda, in an ancillary event on 8 December 2022, organised by the Indigenous Knowledge Research Infrastructure (IKRI), dedicated to addressing the challenges for biodiversity and resiliency of ecosystems. Dr Milind Pimprikar, Chairman of CANEUS, moderated the session, emphasising that indigenous knowledge and practices need to recognised and documented to leverage, integrate and address the urgent challenges the world is facing.

Dr González-Aranda’s contribution described LifeWatch ERIC’s provision of data services as structuring tools in the federation of indigenous knowledge to assist sustainable environmental management, and cited case studies in food, agroecology and green medicine systems. Indigenous knowledge is key to collaborating in a global climate change scenario, he argued, adding that LifeWatch ERIC’s e-Science tools a “Tactical Perspective Action” of not reinventing the wheel, but bringing together sustainable management communities of practice. The infrastructure already works with many countries in guaranteeing the FAIR-ness of data, their interoperability, providing science-based examples of best practice.

The IKRI session at COP15 featured nine other speakers from around the globe and the panel consisted of: Ms. Joan Carling, Executive Director, Indigenous Peoples Rights International, Philippines; Ms. Nāmaka Rawlins, Director of Neʻepapa, Aha Pūnana Leo, Hawaii; Dr. Hussein Isack, Kivulini Trust, Kenya; and Dr. Terence Hay-Edie, GEF Small Grants Programme Advisor, United Nations Development Programme. 

LifeWatch ERIC CTO COP15

Fostering Innovation with the European Commission and Universities for Regional Development

regional development

On Friday 2 December, European experts debated in the Auditorium of the University of Seville about the contribution of the university to regional development and how the promotion of innovation can benefit the double ecological and digital transition. The seminar, organised by the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission and the universities of Seville and Pablo de Olavide, served as a stage for the exchange of knowledge on how the connection between universities and the other actors in the innovation system is essential to tackle challenges such as climate change, digitisation or water scarcity.

The Minister of University, Research and Innovation of the Junta de Andalucía, José Carlos Gómez Villamandos; the director of the JRC in Seville, Mikel Landabaso; and the rectors of the University of Seville and the Pablo de Olavide University, Miguel Ángel Castro Arroyo and Francisco Oliva Blázquez, participated in the seminar called ‘The contribution of the university to regional development through the promotion of innovation’.

In particular, examples were analysed of how collaboration between companies and universities is a characteristic of the most advanced regions in terms of innovation and job creation. In addition, the role of universities in the implementation of regional economic transformation strategies was discussed. For this, experts intervened such as Francisco Solé, vice president of the CYD Foundation; Luc Soete, former Chancellor of Maastricht University and co-chair of the S4 Scientific Commission; Koen Jonkers, editor-in-chief of the JRC; Karel Haegeman, team leader at JRC; Johan Stierna, JRC Lead Scientist; Antonia Jiménez, Vice-Rector for Research, Transfer and Doctorate at the Pablo de Olavide University, and Felipe Rosa, Vice-Rector for Knowledge Transfer at the University of Seville.

LifeWatch ERIC, which sets an example of promoting innovation through agreements with research centres and universities inside and outside Europe, attended this seminar. Juan Miguel González Aranda, LifeWatch ERIC Chief Technology Officer and Common Facility in Spain-ICT Core Director, reached out to the heads of the JRC and the main universities in Seville to expand cooperation in projects already underway.

The Councillor for University, Research and Innovation of the Junta de Andalucía, José Carlos Gómez Villamandos, highlighted that “the innovative capacity of academic institutions is linked to the flow of knowledge that they transmit to the business sector, and the degree of disruption that is implicit”. As an example of this, the Minister highlighted the Andalusia-Alentejo-Algarve University Innovation Centre CIU3A: a cross-border project promoted by the University of Seville, together with Portuguese higher education institutions, which will make it possible to take advantage of the opportunities associated with collaboration between the universities of both countries and to create international environments for R+D+I.

Miguel Ángel Castro, rector of the University of Seville, has stressed that “although much progress has been made in recent years, it is necessary to establish more synergies between the universities and other actors in the regional ecosystems to promote the innovation necessary for the profound transformation of regional production and consumption systems”. He has also referred to the European Universities initiative launched by the European Commission, in which the University of Seville is represented through Ulysseus European University. Castro recalled that this programme is being developed in parallel to the new European Innovation Agenda, is the aim of which is “to promote innovation as the engine of the ecological and digital transitions that Europe needs”.

Francisco Oliva, rector of the Pablo de Olavide University, expressed his admiration for “the important contribution that universities make to the social, cultural and economic development of our environment”; highlighting that “in the face of the challenges that society faces regarding digitisation and the ecological transition, universities contribute knowledge and act as transformative agents, generating alliances for innovation and training future generations”.

In the photo, from left to right: Mikel Landabaso, director of the JRC in Seville; Vincenzo Cardarelli, head of institutional relations at the JRC in Seville; Juan Miguel González-Aranda, LifeWatch ERIC Chief Technology Officer and Common Facility in Spain-ICT Core Director; Miguel Angel Castro Arroyo, rector of the University of Seville; Francisco Oliva, Blázquez, rector of the Pablo de Olavide University; Carmen Vargas, Vice Chancellor for Internationalisation at the University of Seville; Amapola Povedano, General Director of Employability and Entrepreneurship at the Pablo de Olavide University, and Francisco Solé Parellada, Vice President of the Knowledge and Development Foundation.

The ALL-Ready Project 3rd Pilot Network Meeting

ALL-Ready Pilot Network Meeting

Following the successful ALL-Ready regional workshop held in its ICT-Core premises in Seville at the start of the month, LifeWatch ERIC played an active part in the project’s 3rd Pilot Network Meeting. The meeting took place in Budapest (Hungary) from 21 – 23 November 2022,  organised by the Hungarian Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (ÖMKi). ALL-Ready is a European Commission-funded HORIZON2020 project addressing the multiple challenges that agricultural systems are facing today, including climate change, biodiversity loss, dwindling resources, and degradation of soil and water quality.

During the meeting, LifeWatch ERIC presented the Agroecology Virtual Lab for Living Labs and Research Infrastructure as a key e-tool to boost the acceleration of the Agroecology transition in the EU, by promoting networking and interaction among the Agroecology community. A training session was also given to the pilot members of the network to test the performance of the first version of the application.

LifeWatch ERIC Agroecology Virtual Lab provides seamless access to all services that the Agroecology community might need (e.g., data collection, sharing and visualisation) to collaborate and co-create new knowledge. These different functionalities will not only allow the community to work with data in a more efficient way, but boost innovative collaboration pathways between Agroecology stakeholders (Living Labs, Research Infrastructures, end-users, policy-makers, citizens, etc.).

To learn more about different projects in which LifeWatch ERIC is involved, please visit the Related Projects page.

Celebrating 15 Years of WoRMS

WoRMS 15 years

In 2007, the digitally available European Register of Marine Species (ERMS) expanded into a World Register of Marine Species, et voila, WoRMS was born. WoRMS is hosted by VLIZ, which is the national focal point for LifeWatch Belgium. In 2022, WoRMS can be seen as the number one authoritative classification and catalogue of marine names.

WoRMS is managed by a small Data Management Team (DMT) and an elected Steering Committee (SC), but the actual driving force behind the high-quality content of WoRMS is the Editorial Board. Completing and correcting WoRMS requires an enormous continuing effort and is entirely dependent on the expertise and time of the editors. On top of that, it is a race against time as species are at risk of disappearing due to changing environmental conditions such as warming, pollution and acidification, before they are discovered.

To celebrate its 15th birthday and 15 years of collaboration with (taxonomic) experts all over the globe, WoRMS designed an exclusive t-shirt, with proceeds used to coordinate and disseminate funds to the WoRMS editors. With the funds raised, editors will be able to continue to fill gaps in coverage, expand the content and enhance the quality of taxonomic databases, attract interns and students to assist in the verification of taxonomic information, and purchase scientific literature.

And there’s more! Check out all the stories below on the LifeWatch Belgium website in celebration of 15 years of WoRMS!

Get to know the WoRMS editors here!

The growth of WoRMS over the years

Developing the database

Setting priorities to address gaps

Behind the scenes

Taxonomy – a science, an art, or a battleground?

The challenge of author names

Dark literature

Type localities

LifeWatch ERIC to feature prominently at ICSOC 2022

ICSOC

ICSOC, the International Conference on Service-Oriented Computing, is the premier international forum for academics, industry researchers, developers, and practitioners to report and share groundbreaking work in service-oriented computing. ICSOC fosters cross-community scientific excellence by gathering experts from various disciplines, such as services science, data science, management science, business-process management, distributed systems, wireless and mobile computing, cloud and edge computing, cyber-physical systems, Internet-of-Things (IoT), scientific workflows, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and services and software engineering.

This congress provides a high-quality forum for presenting results and discussing ideas that further our knowledge and understanding of the various aspects (e.g. application and system aspects) related to Service Computing with particular focus on artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data analytics, IoT, and emerging technologies including quantum computing.

ICSOC 2022, the 20th event in this series, will take place in Seville, Spain from 29 November – 2 December 2022. Inkeeping with ICSOC tradition, it will feature visionary keynote presentations, research and industry presentations, a vision track, workshops, tutorials, and a PhD track.

LifeWatch ERIC is one of the main sponsors and will give two presentations. On Wednesday, 30 November, Antonio José Sáenz-Albanés, ICT Core Operations Coordinator at LifeWatch ERIC, will do a presentation on ‘LifeWatch ERIC distributed e-infrastructure, challenges and goals’. And on Friday, 2 December, Juan Miguel González-Aranda, LifeWatch ERIC CTO and head of LifeWatch Spain, will participate in a session in collaboration with the Digital Agency of Andalusia and will talk about ‘LifeWatch ERIC, an Open e-Science & Data Service Oriented distributed panEuropean Research Core Infrastructure: AstarteWatch, from Andalusia to the rest of the World’.

In the organising committee of ICSOC 2022, the honorary chair is Pablo Cortés, General Secretary of Research and Innovation of Junta de Andalucía, Spain. The general co-chairs are Pablo Fernández and Antonio Ruiz (University of Seville, Spain). The programme co-chairs are Brahim Medjahed (University of Michigan-Dearborn, United States); Mario Piattini (University of Castilla-La-Mancha, Spain) and Lina Yao (UNSW, Australia). The local chair is Jose Maria Garcia (University of Seville, Spain) and the finance chair is Bernd Krämer (Fern University, Germany). 

In the five main thematic areas of this international conference, the Service-Oriented Technology Trends Chair is Marco Aiello (University of Stuttgart, Germany); the Machine Learning / Artificial Intelligence Chair is Xianzhi Wang (University of Technology Sydney, Australia); the Big Data Analytics Chair is Qi Yu (Rochester Institute of Technology, United States); the Internet of Things Chair is Azadeh Ghari Neiat (Deakin University, Australia); and the Emerging Technologies Chair is Manuel Resinas (University of Seville, Spain). 

LifeWatch ERIC at the International Conference on Ecological Sciences in Metz

Metz

The SFE2, GFÖ & EEF International Conference on Ecological Sciences is taking place in Metz this week, from 21–25 November, organised by the LIEC (University of Lorraine, CNRS) and other labs in northeastern France working in the fields of ecology and evolution. LifeWatch ERIC is not only there with a stand, but is contributing to the agenda with cutting-edge topics in the field of biodiversity– namely, Non-indigenous and Invasive Species (NIS), considered one of the major threats to ecosystem functioning and one of the main drivers of biodiversity loss.

The European Infrastructure for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research is putting on two events at the Conference on Ecological Sciences, a Workshop on 21 November to train scientists in the use of e-tools and resources to address key ecological questions on Non-indigenous and Invasive Species, and a Symposium on European Research Infrastructures (RIs).

The Workshop consists of a 4-hour training session in which interested attendees learn how to access and use LifeWatch ERIC Virtual Research Environments (VREs) from their personal computers, in which NIS case studies and workflows are embedded. The hands-on session is introduced by an interactive session to guide the attendees on their first approach to the VREs and related e-tools.

At the Symposium on 24 November, the discussion focuses on major scientific and societal challenges presented by biodiversity loss. Speakers are to present their RIs, then illustrate the services and facilities that these RIs can provide to address major threats for biodiversity (e.g., alien species, habitat degradation and fragmentation, etc.) and tackle climate change impacts affecting ecosystem functioning and services. It is therefore also an occasion to explore multidisciplinary expertise and synergies on these key topics.

Please follow the links for more information on the Workshop and the Symposium.