Biodiversity Observatory Automation

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The Thematic Services Workshop Series

The LifeWatch ERIC Thematic Services, co-developed by the LifeWatch ERIC Common Facilities and National Distributed Centres, are a key component of the 2022-2026 Infrastructure Strategic Working Plan (SWP). They represent the key priority areas of eService construction in LifeWatch ERIC proposed by the National Distributed Centres.

Activities, developments and physical outcomes of the LifeWatch ERIC Thematic Services, as eServices, Virtual Labs (vLabs) and more complex and complete Virtual Research Environments (VREs), are planned to be coordinated by Thematic Service Working Groups participated by scientists from both the National Distributed Centres and the Common Facilities, with an overall coordination of the LifeWatch ERIC Service Centre.

Biodiversity Observatory today and in the future

The Biodiversity Observatory Automation, part of our Thematic Service Workshop Series, is dedicated to reviewing and updating the requirements for effective biodiversity assessment in an era of unprecedented environmental change and biodiversity loss.


Although biodiversity assessment can be challenging due to time-consuming fieldwork and demanding post-fieldwork data processing and storage, advances in automation of data collection, increasing computational power, and artificial intelligence offer new possibilities.


The workshop, hosted by LifeWatch Slovenia, will bring together experts to present key achievements and obstacles in monitoring and observational approaches and discuss the drawbacks and needs of different stakeholders. In this workshop, we will explore the possibilities offered by a variety of modern approaches to monitoring and detecting biodiversity (from aerial observations to eDNA), from data collection design, data curation, and data exploration, including the use of AI to FARIfication of data to digital twins.

09:00 – 09:10 | Greetings from Slovenian hosts – Tanja Pipan and Andreja Ramšak (LifeWatch-SI)

09:10 – 09:30 | Presentation of Thematic Core Services (TCS) – Alberto Basset (LifeWatch ERIC Service Center)

09:30 – 10:10 | Invited talk: Ecosystem Virtual research environment: from data FARIfication to digital twins – Zhiming Zhao (University of Amsterdam)

10:10 – 10:25 | Talk: Challenges to Implement Darwin Core Meta Data Standard within GeoNetwork portals – Magdalena Năpăruş-Aljančič, Žan Kafol and Tanja Pipan (Karst Research Institute ZRC SAZU)

10:25 – 10:40 | Talk: Case study: Landscape features and biodiversity in agroecosystem – Danijel Ivajnšič and Nataša Pipenbaher (University of Maribor)

10:40 – 11:20 | Invited talk: Using high-throughput species discovery with robots and Nanopore sequencing to overcome taxon biases in biodiversity science – Rudolf Meier (Museum of Natural History, Berlin)

11:20 – 11:30 | Coffee break

11:30 – 12:10 | Invited talk: Environmental DNA and DNA metabarcoding for biodiversity monitoring and assessment – Gentile Francesco Ficetola (Università degli Studi di Milano, Department of Environmental Science and policy)

12:10 – 12:25 | Talk: Use of drones for various purposes – Hubert Potočnik (University of Ljubljana)

12:25 – 12:40 | Talk: Camera traps and citizen science App for biodiversity monitoring – Luka Duniš, Žiga Velkavrh and Elena Bužan (University of Primorska)

12:40 – 13:00 | Debate

13:00 – 14:00 | Lunch break

14:00 – 14:30 | Invited talk: LIFE NarcIS – NAtuRe Conservation Information System in Slovenia – Rok Havliček (Slovenian Environment Agency)

14:30 – 14:45 | Talk: Next-generation multi-modal monitoring of Rana arvalis in Slovenia – preliminary results – David Stanković, Sara Strah, Mojca Vek, Mariana Carreira Santos, Mladen Avramović and Jernej Polajnar (National Institute of Biology, University of Aveiro, University of South Bohemia)

14:45 – 15:00 | Talk: Acoustic and vibrational biodiversity monitoring – Jernej Polajnar and Rok Šturm (National Institute of Biology)

15:00 – 15:20 | Coffee break

15:20 – 16:00 | Invited talk: Presentation of the LifeWatch Belgium observatory services – Klaas Deneudt (VLIZ)

16:00 – 16:15 | Talk: Novel approaches to surveying habitat types and organisms on the seabed – Lovrenc Lipej, Borut Mavrič (National Institute of Biology, Marine Biology Station Piran)

16:15 – 16:55 | Invited talk: Estimating structural diversity of forests using national remote sensing data – Anže Martin Pintar and Mitja Skudnik (Slovenian Forestry Institute)

16:55 – 17:15 | Coffee break

17:15 – 17:45 | Workshop, moderated debate

17:45 – 18:00 | Conclusions and Wrap-up

Coming soon!
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The Bulgarian National Distributed Centre is represented by the  Agricultural University-Plovdiv.

To know more about how Bulgaria contributes to LifeWatch ERIC, please visit our dedicated webpage.


The Spanish National Distributed Centre is supported by the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities, the Regional Government of Andalusia and the Guadalquivir River Basin Authority (Ministry for Ecological Transition-MITECO). Moreover, Spain is the hosting Member State of LifeWatch ERIC, the location of its Statutory Seat & ICT e-Infrastructure Technical Office (LifeWatch ERIC Common Facilities). 

To know more about how Spain contributes to LifeWatch ERIC, please visit our dedicated webpage.


The Slovenian National Distributed Centre is led by the Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts (ZRC SAZU). It focuses on the development of technological solutions in the field of biodiversity and socio-ecosystem research.

To know more about how Slovenia contributes to LifeWatch ERIC, please visit our dedicated webpage.


The Portuguese National Distributed Centre is managed by PORBIOTA, the Portuguese e-Infrastructure for Information and Research on Biodiversity. Led by BIOPOLIS/CIBIO-InBIO – Research Centre in Biodiversity and Genetic Resources, PORBIOTA connects the principal Portuguese research institutions working in biodiversity.

To know more about how Portugal contributes to LifeWatch ERIC, please visit our dedicated webpage.


The Dutch National Distributed Centre is hosted by the Faculty of Science of the University of Amsterdam. Moreover, The Netherlands hosts one of the LifeWatch ERIC Common Facilities, the Virtual Laboratory and Innovation Centre.

To know more about how The Netherlands contributes to LifeWatch ERIC, please visit our dedicated webpage.


The Italian National Distributed Centre is led and managed by the Italian National Research Council (CNR) and is coordinated by a Joint Research Unit, currently comprising 35 members. Moreover, Italy hosts one of the LifeWatch ERIC Common Facilities, the Service Centre.

To know more about how Italy contributes to LifeWatch ERIC, please visit our dedicated webpage.


The Greek National Distributed Centre is funded by the Greek General Secretariat of Research and Technology and is coordinated by the Institute of Marine Biology, Biotechnology and Aquaculture of the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, in conjunction with 47 associated partner institutions.

To know more about how Greece contributes to LifeWatch ERIC, please visit our dedicated webpage.


The Belgian National Distributed Centre makes varied and complementary in-kind contributions to LifeWatch ERIC. These are implemented in the form of long-lasting projects by various research centres and universities distributed throughout the country and supported by each respective political authority.

To know more about how Belgium contributes to LifeWatch ERIC, please visit our dedicated webpage.