Catalogue of Life turns 20

Catalogue of Life

The Catalogue of Life (COL) is the result of international collaboration, providing researchers, policymakers, environmental managers, and the wider public with a consistent and up-to-date index of the names of all the world’s known species. COL originated in 2001 as a partnership between the organisations Species 2000 and the Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS), and is now curated by an international community of 165 taxonomic data sources. In 2021, the COL turned 20, and with the release of the 2021 Annual Checklist (Bánki et al. 2021, July, 2021), has reached just over 2 million accepted species names.

Over the past years LifeWatch Belgium, as part of the COL governance, has been overhauling its digital infrastructure. The new infrastructure, powered by GBIF, functions more efficiently, is on the path to better facilitate the work of the taxonomic community, and provides a more sustainable service for users at all scales. It consists of a public portal, a ChecklistBank, and a new API. Another of its new features is that it provides stable taxon name identifiers. The intent is to create more opportunities to address taxonomic and scientific name gaps associated with the COL Checklist, which will enable the transformation of the COL Checklist to serve as the GBIF Backbone Taxonomy in the future. In the next few years, together with the taxonomic community at large, COL would like to address the apparent taxonomic gaps that still exist in the Checklist. 

COL is a wonderful example of a cost effective, functional research infrastructure that was brought to life by true international collaboration, focus, and persistence of dedicated people offering their time to make it work. COL invites everyone who has an interest to become part of the effort!

The full article can be found on the LifeWatch Belgium website.

European Tracking Network for fish reaches 500 million detections

ETN

In recent years, fish tracking technology has revolutionised our knowledge on fish migration and behaviour. The LifeWatch initiative, the European Tracking Network (ETN), integrates the European efforts of hundreds of users, dealing with thousands of tagged fish from a multitude of species. It is powered by LifeWatch Belgium through VLIZ and INBO, and supported by numerous partners throughout Europe. These combined efforts have culminated in a striking milestone: 500 million detections have been reached, imparting invaluable information on fish species such as the Atlantic bluefin tuna, European seabass and sturgeon.

There is a large and growing number of researchers using biotelemetry to study aquatic animals, such as fish, and answer management-related questions (stock management, impact of climate change, etc.). Large scale nationally and regionally managed fish tagging initiatives were implemented around the globe in recent years. The ETN aims at encouraging collaboration in the field of aquatic animal tracking in Europe and ensuring a transition from a loosely-coordinated set of existing regional telemetry initiatives to an open, sustainable, efficient, and integrated pan-European biotelemetry network embedded in the international context. In animal tracking research, electronic tags are attached to the animal, allowing us to track its movements. On land, GPS technology can be used, but in the aquatic environment we have to rely on other technologies, one of the most commonly applied techniques being acoustic telemetry. This technology uses tags that emit a sound signal that is recognised by receivers placed at strategic locations.

ETN is celebrating over 500 million detections, with 8710 tags applied to 81 species. Biotelemetry has proven its value in species research, often with a scope on pressing scientific as well as policy-driven questions. For vulnerable species such as the Atlantic Bluefin tuna for instance, biotelemetry enables researchers to fine-tune their long-distance migration patterns in support of protective management plans. In the case of critically endangered species such as the European sturgeon, tagging is a crucial element in reintroduction programmes. And for several species, including the European seabass, biotelemetry facilitates the study of a species’ migration and population structure beyond the individual stock level.

The full article, including information on individual species, is available on the LifeWatch Belgium website.

Source Image: © Exeter University

LifeWatch ERIC in DOORS Project Kick-Off Meeting

DOORS Project

LifeWatch ERIC was proud to represent part of the pan-European contingent of 37 partners in the kick-off meeting for the new EU project ‘DOORS’, led by GeoEcoMar, on 29–30 June 2021. The meeting was launched by Wendy Bonne of the European Commission and Mr Ciprian Teleman, Romanian Minister of Research, Innovation and Digitalisation, who said:

“DOORS represents a clear commitment of the European Union for the Black Sea, which will enable a climate neutral, sustainable and productive blue economy. Education, Research and innovation is the Golden Triangle for the knowledge-based economy to strengthen the links between Romanian and European scientists.”

But what is DOORS?

DOORS is a €9m Horizon 2020 project* that stands for ‘Developing Optimal and Open Research Support’ in the Black Sea, which is infamously the world’s most polluted. It will link science, policy and industry for critical Black Sea regeneration, bringing together expertise and technology from institutions from the Black Sea region and other European countries to address the human and climate change impacts on damaged ecosystems.

What exactly will it do?

DOORS will develop a common framework of scientific methods for gathering data, allowing partners to better understand the complex marine processes that happen across the Black Sea. The project will provide a system that will bring together information from in-situ measurements, research cruises, satellite observation, modelling and data integration capabilities.
Alongside the integration of scientific knowledge sharing, it is a fundamental objective for DOORS to engage with wider society. By providing mechanisms for business to link with research, DOORS will create new job opportunities for emerging Blue Growth economies through new synergies and mentoring schemes; the first of its kind to be setup in the Black Sea. Key initiatives that engage schools, universities and general citizens of the region will promote behaviour change and celebrate best practice, influencing future policy, Blue Growth and the health of Black Sea communities.

What role will LifeWatch ERIC play?

LifeWatch ERIC will be participating in Work Package 2: Harmonisation; 6: Blue Growth; 7: Capacity Building; 8: Stakeholder Engagement; and 9: Dissemination and Communication. Alberto Basset, Service Centre Director and project coordinator for LifeWatch ERIC, noted: 

“LifeWatch ERIC’s strong ties with the biodiversity and ecosystem research communities, along with its specialist knowledge in data integration and providing training activities will ensure the infrastructure’s contribution to all three of the DOORS project’s core pillars: System of Systems, Blue Growth Accelerator and Knowledge Transfer and Training. We look forward to strengthening and establishing connections in the Black Sea research community through DOORS, confident that the results of this project will be advantageous for both citizens and scientists of the Black Sea area, as well as Europe as a whole.”

Click here for the DOORS website. You can also follow its activities on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

*grant agreement No. 101000518

Inmaculada Figueroa, new Chair of LifeWatch ERIC General Assembly

Inmaculada Figueroa: Chair

LifeWatch ERIC is pleased to announce the election of Inmaculada Figueroa as the new Chair of the LifeWatch ERIC General Assembly for the next two years.

“I have been involved with LifeWatch since the early stages of its creation and hosting in Spain and with the General Assembly since its establishment as a European Research Infrastructure Consortium in 2017, and I am delighted to have been elected as Chair of this strategic infrastructure in such a crucial moment, with LifeWatch ERIC closing its first term and setting its sights on upcoming the challenges presented by the next one. After 5 years of groundwork building the tools and web-services required, LifeWatch ERIC is in a position to boost its contribution to civil society, in supporting the European Union in reaching the 2030 Green Deal Biodiversity Targets and the UN SDGs,” says Inmaculada Figueroa; “As much as I am looking forward to getting started, I would first like to extend my thanks and congratulations to my predecessor for the brilliant work he has done for the infrastructure, Gert Verreet. I would also like to take a moment to remember Marc R. De Jonge, who also chaired the LifeWatch ERIC General Assembly until his untimely passing on 27 April 2019.”

Inmaculada is an electrical engineer with more than 17 years’ experience in the Space domain (Instituto Nacional de Técnica Aeroespacial), being responsible for the Assembly and integration of scientific satellite payloads. Since 2009, she has been working in the Ministry of Science and Innovation of Spain and its predecessors in the field of Research Infrastructures and e-Infrastructures. Currently, she is the Deputy Vice Director General for Internationalization of Science & Innovation in the Spanish Ministry of Science & Innovation and ESFRI Vice Chair.

The LifeWatch ERIC Executive Board and all the staff warmly welcome Inmaculada and wish her the best for her new position.

The LifeWatch ERIC General Assembly

The LifeWatch ERIC General Assembly is the highest governing body of LifeWatch ERIC and is responsible for the overall direction and supervision of the infrastructure. The members of the LifeWatch ERIC General Assembly are:       

Inmaculada Figueroa (Chair, ES); Gert Verreet, Aline Van der Werf, Jerome Degreef (Belgium); Georgios Kotoulas, Eva Chatzinicolaou (GR); Grazia Pavoncello (IT), Joana Pinheiro, Pedro Beja, Rui Figueira (PT); Viorel Vulturescu (RO); Luboš Halada (SK), Albin Kralj (SI), Maria Teresa Serrano, Alejandro Rodríguez, José Juan Sánchez (ES); Edwin van Huis, Marjolein Robijn, as well as the members of the LifeWatch ERIC Executive Board: Christos Arvanitidis (CEO), Juan Miguel González-Aranda (CTO), Alberto Basset (Service Centre Director), Peter Van Tienderen (Interim Director of VLab & Innovation Centre) and Lucas de Moncuit (CFO).

The 2021 ENVRI Community International School

The official banner for the ENVRI Community International School - Services for FAIRness

The 2021 edition of the ENVRI Community International School has been launched!

Organised by ENVRI-FAIR and LifeWatch ERIC, the ENVRI Community International School is at its fourth edition, having established itself as an unmissable opportunity to learn about FAIRness in the framework of Research Infrastructures. Having gone into depth on data FAIRness and data management during previous editions, this year the School will focus on Services for FAIRness, from their design to their development and publication.

Further information on the programme and teachers will soon be available.

SAVE THE DATE | The school will take place online from 27 September to 8 October 2021.

Do you want to know more about the School? Check out the previous editions at the following links:

The 2020 Winter School on DATA FAIRness

The 2019 Summer School on DATA FAIRness

LifeWatch ERIC at the RI-VIS Latin America-Europe Symposium

Official banner of the RI-VIS Latin America Symposium for Research Infrastructures

LifeWatch ERIC was delighted to take part in the RI-VIS Latin America-Europe Symposium on Research Infrastructures, held online 15-17 June 2021. The European Union and Latin America enjoy privileged relations and are natural partners, linked by strong historical, cultural and economic ties. The EU-LAC ResInfra project (Towards a new EU-LAC partnership in Research Infrastructures, funded under Horizon 2020), of which LifeWatch ERIC is a partner, has for ten years been building biregional collaboration on climate change, digital innovation, research and education. Cooperation between the 27 EU and 33 LAC (Latin American and Caribbean) countries, which together comprise over one billion people, is an important part of addressing major global issues like infectious disease, food security, and natural disasters.

The RI-VIS Latin America-Europe Symposium on Research Infrastructures brought together nearly 200 speakers to consolidate collaboration on enabling scientists to use specific facilities, resources, and expertise to accelerate scientific achievements, overcome boundaries, train highly skilled specialists, and promote sustainable research. The goal was to deliver a sustainability plan and roadmap which included human capital development and capacity building within its science, technology and innovation framework.

LifeWatch ERIC Chief Technology Officer and ICT-Core Director, Dr Juan Miguel González-Aranda, delivered an enthusiastic presentation on the “LifEuLAC Pilot Case Study” on Tuesday 15 June, as part of the session Case studies of multinational and biregional Latin American-European partnerships. He outlined LifeWatch ERIC’s role in economic evaluations of ecosystems, describing how through strategic, tactical and operational plans it will continue to expand environmental studies that contribute to economic growth and equity.

The development of innovative ICT tools – Blockchain, which illustrates the socioeconomic value of ecosystem services, and Tesseract, which is designed to support policymaker decision-making – places LifeWatch ERIC in a strong position to measure the impact of global climate change on biodiversity and ecosystem research. Ongoing collaboration with other Research Infrastructures will produce greater data evidence and understanding that will greatly benefit both regions of the partnership.

For more information, click here to read the White Paper published ahead of the Symposium, entitled “Recommendations towards cooperation between Latin American and European research infrastructures”.

LifeWatch ERIC in BiCIKL Kick-Off Meeting

BiCiKL

The kick-off meeting for the Biodiversity Community Integrated Knowledge Library (BiCIKL) took place last week on 27-28 May! LifeWatch ERIC is proud to be one of the fourteen official partners of this Horizon 2020 project,* contributing to the establishment of open science practices in the biodiversity domain as it follows its own mission to become a worldwide provider of content and services for this research community.

But what is BiCIKL?

BiCIKL is an EU-funded project coordinated by Pensoft that aims to unite key European and international research infrastructures across ten countries in their quest to facilitate open science and fair data practices in the biodiversity scientific community. Its four key products have been identified as: a community equipped with tools for searching and accessing FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable) interlinked data; an interlinked corpora of knowledge for biodiversity and related research domains; automated tools and workflows for data liberation and FAIRisation from literature; and semantic-based journal production workflows for publication and reuse of FAIR biodiversity data.

What exactly does it do?

BiCIKL plans to build a Biodiversity Knowledge Hub, providing access to data, associated tools and services at each stage and along the entire research cycle. Speaking technically, it will focus on harvesting, liberating, linking and reusing subarticle level data literature (specimens, material citations, samples, sequences, taxonomic names, taxonomic treatments, figures, tables, etc.), whether PDF- or XML-based. It will provide seamless linking and usage tracking of data along the line: specimens → sequences → species → analytics → publications → biodiversity knowledge graph → re-use.

What role does LifeWatch ERIC play?

LifeWatch ERIC, which already carries out specialised work in the areas of semantics and usage tracking, will be key in helping BiCIKL develop the methods, tools and workflows required for the realisation of BiCIKL goals. Its two main tasks will be to analyse the technical requirement of users and implement the Biodiversity Knowledge Hub (BiKH). It will participate in testing and streamlining interoperability and the alignment of findability, reuse and accessibility. Furthermore, LifeWatch ERIC will contribute to defining and implementing the necessary operational framework, as well as identifying BiKH components and translating the functional diagramme and operational framework into an educational cloud.


BiCIKL’s website is currently under construction, but you can follow its activities on Twitter.


*grant agreement No. 101007492, duration May 2021-2024

LifeWatch ERIC receives Sustainability Award

Sustainability Award

On 28 May, Fundación Ingenio, an initiative bringing together the main stakeholders of the agricultural sector in Murcia (Spain), presented LifeWatch ERIC with its Environmental Sustainability Award, as further recognition of the work it does in support of sustainable ecosystem management.

LifeWatch ERIC CTO, Juan Miguel González-Aranda, accepted the award from the President of Murcia, Fernando López Miras, along with the Regional Minister of this area, Antonio Luengo Zapata. Christos Arvanitidis, LifeWatch CEO, sent a video message expressing his thanks, followed by a short speech from Juan Miguel González-Aranda emphasising the importance of fostering sustainable agroecosystems, in synergy with the EU Green DealSDG 2030, and the European AgroEcology Network, among other outstanding initiatives.

In addition, LifeWatch ERIC also participated in the radio programme “A vivir Tierra y Mar” with Radio Cadena SER.

LifeWatch ERIC would like to extend its congratulations to the other Environmental Sustainability Award winners: Cáritas Diocesanas for their efforts in supporting disadvantaged and deprived groups, and a family from the Campo de Cartagena area which boasts three generations of farmers.

ERIC Forum elects new Chair F. Colomer

New ERIC Forum Chair elected: Francisco Colomer

The ERIC Forum is pleased to announce the appointment of Francisco Colomer, Director of JIVE ERIC, as the new Chair of the ERIC Forum.  

The new Chair, with the support of members from the Executive Board, will be in charge of the strategic management and planning of the ERIC Forum, strengthening its dialogue and relations with key stakeholders such as the European Commission and the ESFRI.  

Francisco Colomer commented that “the best researchers need the best research infrastructures to produce the best science“. The ERIC Forum, which is one of the leading science policy voices in Europe, “emphasises the critical role of European research infrastructures as high level service providers to those researchers, to make science and innovation possible, while increasing the visibility and relevance of ERICs in the individual European member states“. 

Composition of the Executive Board: 

Each member of the Executive Board represents a scientific cluster (Social Sciences and Humanities, Life Sciences, Environment and Earth Sciences clusters), in addition to the chair and vice-chair who, in their turn, represent the two remaining clusters (respectively: Physical Sciences and Engineering, and Health and Food clusters). 

ERIC Forum Executive Board >> 

About the ERIC Forum:  

The ERIC Forum brings together 21 large-scale European Research Infrastructures, and aims to advance operations of ERICs and to strategically contribute to the development of ERIC-related policies. The ERIC Forum is also a consultation body for EU policies related to Research Infrastructures. It centralises the type of challenges that ERICs face in this regard and the potential solutions which are being implemented. 

For more information, visit the ERIC Forum website: www.eric-forum.eu

Contact us at: info@eric-forum.eu