Doctoral Thesis Defence on AI, Biodiversity and Sustainable Ecosystem Management 

AI biodiversity

On 27 April 2022, a presentation of a doctoral thesis by doctoral candidate Francisco Pérez-Hernández, entitled “Pre- and Post-Processing Strategies in Deep Learning for Multi-class Problems in the Field of Security and Biodiversity” took place at the “Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingeniería Informática” (ETSII) of the University of Granada. This thesis is one of the results of the Thematic Centre on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Deep Learning, and High Mountains Ecosystems, under the umbrella of the so-called LifeWatch ERIC SMART ECOMOUNTAINS Andalusia ERDF project, hosted by the University of Granada as one of the distributed facilities engaging with LifeWatch ERIC.

This is an outstanding milestone in the application of state-of-art AI and Deep Learning techniques in, e.g., advanced satellite image processing for the study of biodiversity and ecosystems, to be made available to the scientific community and environmental decision makers in the form of a LifeWatch ERIC Virtual Research Environment.

Among those attending the defence were the doctoral tutors, supervisors and member of the evaluation committee: Juan Miguel González-Aranda, LifeWatch ERIC CTO, Enrique Herrera Viedma, Vice-Rector for Research and Transfer of the University of Granada; Siham Tabik, Professor of the Department of Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence; Francisco Herrera Triguero, Professor at the Department of Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence at the University of Granada; Domingo Alcaraz Segura Professor at the University of Granada; Juan Mario Haut Hurtado, Professor at the University of Extremadura,  and Gloria Ortega López, Professor at the University of Almería. 

LifeWatch Slovenia Publishes New Research Paper

LifeWatch Slovenia Research

Researchers affiliated with LifeWatch Slovenia have published the research paper: “Karst Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems—Typology, Vulnerability and Protection” (Nataša Ravbar, Tanja Pipan). You can read the abstract below and click on the link to access it in full.

Karst Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems—Typology, Vulnerability and Protection

Nataša Ravbar, Tanja Pipan

Karst groundwater dependent ecosystems (KGDEs) represent an important asset worldwide due to their ecological and socioeconomic values. In the contribution the main KGDEs of the Dinaric karst in Slovenia are presented. The main hydrological processes (i.e., extent, duration and frequency of groundwater inflow), the main biota and indicator communities, and the factors limiting the evolution of species (e.g., darkness) were identified. An overview of rare, endemic and charismatic species was also shown including Proteus anguinus, Marifugia cavatica, Monolistra racovitzae racovitzae and others. Due to its location in an area of very high geographical diversity and between different climate types, the Slovenian Dinaric karst is one of the hotspots of subterranean biodiversity on a global scale. The interaction between orographic, climatic, hydrological and edaphic conditions, as well as the fact that the area served as a hub for different species and as a refuge during the ice ages, are crucial for the very high biodiversity in this area. Due to deforestation in prehistoric times, man has even contributed to the diversification of the flora by creating space for the appearance or spread of habitats that are now considered natural (e.g., dry grasslands). An important factor in maintaining a particularly rich diversity of karst flora and fauna is also the low human impact and the very well preserved landscape in its natural state. KGDE sites in Slovenia with the greatest known species diversity are the Postojna -Planina and Škocjanske Jame cave systems, Cerkniško and Planinsko Polje, and the intermittent lakes of Pivka. Characterization of KGDEs is a prerequisite for a better understanding of the processes that control them, their biological function, and their vulnerability. The ecohydrological characterization of KGDEs of Slovenian Dinaric karst can serve as a pilot study for other karst regions with high biodiversity.

Photo credit: B Kogovšek, N Ravbar, Adobe Stock.