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Successful international workshop on species interaction EBVs

This article is largely based on an online article by Dr Daniel Kissling, University of Amsterdam
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The fourth international GLOBIS-B workshop was held from 26-28 February 2018 in Bari, Italy to foster global cooperation of biodiversity research infrastructures and biodiversity scientists.

The workshop, which focused on species interactions, was organised by the European-funded Horizon 2020 project GLOBIS-B, which is coordinated by W. Daniel Kissling from the University of Amsterdam Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics.

The European project GLOBIS-B stands for 'GLOBal Infrastructures for Supporting Biodiversity research' and aims to support coordination among biodiversity research infrastructures. By organising international workshops with leading world experts, the project brings together top academic researchers, informatics experts from research infrastructures, and legal and policy experts.

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Participants of the GLOBIS-B Workshop in Bari, Italy (Picture: Antonio M. Saraiva)

Towards making species interactions openly accessible

The workshop focused on computational workflows and data integration to produce essential biodiversity variables (EBVs) on species interactions. The concept of EBVs has been introduced by the Group on Earth Observations Biodiversity Observation Network (GEO BON). EBVs are the derived measurements required to study, report and manage biodiversity change. Although studying species interactions has a long tradition in ecology, EBVs on species interactions remain the most challenging and least developed type of EBV.

W. Daniel Kissling, scientific coordinator of GLOBIS-B, explains: 'Species interactions are numerous in nature and openly accessible datasets on changes in species interactions are largely lacking. The workshop therefore addressed how to mobilise and standardise observations on species interactions to make them openly accessible.

'The workshop also covered issues related to the EBV concept, data and metadata standards, computational implications, and legal considerations when sharing data. These issues were specifically explored by discussing plant-pollinator, predator-prey and microbial interactions.'

The workshop results will be published in a scientific paper and several workshop participants expressed their willingness to continue contributing to the GEO BON plans, as for example in an expert group on species interactions EBVs.

Technical working group manifesto

SAEON's Chief Data and Information Officer, Wim Hugo, participated in the technical working group during which the challenges facing existing and future data infrastructure to adequately support EBVs - especially in the context of species interactions - were discussed in detail. The working group developed a manifesto for EBV data management and is in the process of publishing a paper to disseminate the principles in the manifesto to the wider community.

Wim also found support for the development of a generic data model for EBV variables, based on Linked Open Data conventions and graph databases. ‘This can be used to represent any biodiversity variable concisely and accurately and helps with mapping of variables to common service interfaces such as hypercubes, time series, map services and the like,' he explains.  

 

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