Instituut voor Natuur- en Bosonderzoek
Anderlecht, Belgium
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Vanden-Broeck A.,Instituut voor Natuur- en Bosonderzoek | Cox K.,Instituut voor Natuur- en Bosonderzoek | Villar M.,French National Institute for Agricultural Research
Plant Ecology and Evolution | Year: 2012

Background and aims - In Europe, native Populus nigra generally grows sympatric with related exotic cultivated poplars. Hybridization followed by introgression and genetic swamping is often mentioned as a potential threat for the conservation of P. nigra. This potential threat is supposed to be higher when the cultivated poplars are reproductively more effective compared to P. nigra. We investigated hybridization events of P. nigra females with cultivated P. × canadensis and P. nigra 'Italica' along the IJzer river in Flanders (Belgium). We also compared the reproductive potential of P. nigra and P. × canadensis. Methods - After first determining the genotypic diversity within P. nigra, we looked for diagnostic microsatellite alleles of P. deltoides in the offspring of open-pollinated P. nigra. We also studied the possible paternity by the cultivar P. nigra 'Italica'. The reproductive potential of P. × canadensis and P. nigra was compared in terms of potential seed set. Key results - This study provides evidence for natural hybridization between P. nigra and P. × canadensis in West Flanders. In 58% of the seedlings from the open pollinated P. nigra trees, at least one diagnostic allele of P. deltoides was detected. P. nigra 'Italica' was likely the father of only one seedling. The exotic P. × canadensis showed a significantly higher potential for seed set compared to native P. nigra. The genotypic diversity of P. nigra was extremely low with only two (female) genets among 209 black poplars. Conclusions - Natural hybridization with P. × canadensis occurs and may pose a significant threat to the conservation of P. nigra in West Flanders. To reduce the risk of introgression and genetic swamping of P. nigra by P. × canadensis, we strongly advise reforestation using multiple genotypes of P. nigra from neighbouring regions taking into account balanced sex-ratios. © 2012 National Botanic Garden of Belgium and Royal Botanical Society of Belgium.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: LCE-07-2016-2017 | Award Amount: 7.17M | Year: 2016

FIThydro addresses the decision support in commissioning and operating hydropower plants (HPP) by use of existing and innovative technologies. It concentrates on mitigation measures and strategies to develop cost-efficient environmental solutions and on strategies to avoid individual fish damage and enhancing population developments. Therefore HPPS all over Europe are involved as test sites. The facilities for upstream and downstream migration are evaluated, different bypass systems including their use as habitats and the influence of sediment on habitat. In addition existing tools and devices will be enhanced during the project and will be used in the experimental set-ups in the laboratories and at the test sites for e.g. detection of fish or prediction of behavior. This includes sensor fish, different solutions for migration as e.g. trash rack variations, different fish tracking systems, but also numerical models as habitat and population model or virtual fish swimming path model. Therefore a three-level-based workplan was created with preparatory desk work at the beginning to analyze shortcomings and potential in environment-friendly hydropower. Following the experimental tests will be conducted at the different test sites to demonstrate and evaluate the effects of the different options not covered by the desk-work. Thirdly, these results are fed into a risk based Decision Support System (DSS) which is developed for planning, commissioning and operating of HPPs. It is meant to enable operators to fulfill the requirements of cost-effective production and at the same time meet the environmental obligations and targets under European legislation and achieve a self-sustained fish population.

Tsakiris G.,National Technical University of Athens | Nalbantis I.,National Technical University of Athens | Vangelis H.,National Technical University of Athens | Verbeiren B.,Vrije Universiteit Brussel | And 10 more authors.
Water Resources Management | Year: 2013

Conventionally droughts are studied in terms of their dimensions (severity, duration and areal extent), without specifying the affected system. The paper presents an innovative system-based approach for drought analysis, which can lead to rational decisions for combating drought. Concepts of water scarcity (drought, water shortage, aridity and desertification) are viewed within the perspective of this new approach. The paper focuses also on operational water management in the presence of drought. Starting from the needs for such management, the affected system is defined and the related quantities are identified. Also, sub-systems are considered which allow the establishment of the link between specific variables and drought. Some drought characterisation methods are particularly suited for the systemic approach. Finally drought is considered as a natural hazard phenomenon and its consequences are discussed. Each physical sub-system can be improved by a variety of measures aiming at decreasing its vulnerability towards drought, so that the drought risk is mitigated. It is concluded that the clear definition of the affected system on the spatial and temporal scales can significantly contribute to the rational management for combating drought. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.

Cammaerts R.,Direction de la Nature et de lEau | Cammaerts R.,Roosevelt University | Spikmans F.,Stichting RAVON | van Kessel N.,Natuurbalans Limes Divergens BV | And 5 more authors.
Aquatic Invasions | Year: 2012

The western tubenose goby, Proterorhinus semilunaris, of Ponto-Caspian origin, already recorded in 2002 from the lowest course of the Dutch River Meuse, was caught upstream for the first time in 2008 in the Border Meuse, the river-stretch forming the border between Belgium and the Netherlands. In 2009 it reached the upstream extremity of the Border Meuse in Wallonia and in 2010 it was recorded in Flanders, in a canal connected to the Border Meuse. Discussion is provided about its migration pathway. Further upstream expansion of the western tubenose goby may be expected in less man-modified and lightly navigated sections of the River Meuse, e.g. those lined with macrophyte-rich habitats. Behavioural competition with the native bullhead Cottus perifretum is likely and might lead to a decline in the bullhead population. © 2012 The Author(s).

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: ENV.2007. | Award Amount: 3.44M | Year: 2008

The key challenge addressed in the present proposal is to develop a biodiversity observation system that is transmissible, cost effective and provides added value to the currently independent data sources of in situ data and EO. There are three requirements: the production of protocols to enable extant data to be placed on a common framework for analysis; the provision of a sound scientific conceptual basis for the system that will provide a robust statistical structure for analytical tests and for the eventual estimates of stock and change and the provision of a system for estimating past change and monitoring as well as enabling forecasting of future options so that policy makers can generate appropriate strategies for mitigation. The present consortium has a major advantage in that the framework is based on existing institutional collaboration which has been developed in the EU project ALTERNET. This framework will ensure continuity of recording and shows an existing commitments of the institutes concerned to long term monitoring. It will also provide the necessary structure for integration of available data.. This network already has long term data sets for biodiversity indicators eg butterflies and birds but the ambition is to convert these from site specific measures through inter-calibration to the wider European picture, using tried and tested statistical procedures. The key work package will involve inter-calibration between EO and in situ data,which will involve habitats that can be linked to specific biodiversity indicators. These will be identified using a conceptual framework developed in another work package. The target is to provide a basis for up and down scaling that can be tested to show the added value of integration. Other work packages will provide protocols to place data onto a common framework tests of validation and stratification procedures for assessing the consistency of data coverage.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA-CA | Phase: ENV.2010.2.1.4-3 | Award Amount: 1.29M | Year: 2010

Knowledge about biodiversity and ecosystem services is well advanced in the European scientific community, as demonstrated by many excellent projects and their scientific impact. However, on the global as well as the European scale, there is a failure to communicate the knowledge gained into the policy-making process and society as a whole. Such communication efforts, must ensure that all relevant knowledge is accessible and that all existing biodiversity research communities and other knowledge holders are involved in a network structure that is linked to decision making bodies. The overall objective of the project is thus to develop a recommended design for a scientific biodiversity Network of Knowledge (NoK) to inform policy-makers and other societal actors. This network shall be open, transparent, flexible, equally accessible to all, independent, be scientifically- and evidence-based and have a robust structure. It will develop links to relevant clients to support the science-society interface in Europe and beyond. To achieve this, the project brings together expertise from all major biodiversity research fields (in the consortium and beyond). Beginning with mapping the biodiversity knowledge landscape in Europe (WP1), the project will develop a prototype NoK, involving a wide number of institutions and networks in biodiversity research and policy (WP2). This prototype will then be used as a vehicle to carry out case studies in relevant policy fields (agriculture, biodiversity conservation, marine issues) in order to test and trial its functioning and effectiveness (WP3). The experience gained will be evaluated by an additional expert group within the project (WP4) in order to provide input for developing a recommended design for a potential future Network of Knowledge (WP5). WP6 takes care of project management, and will ensure international cooperation and the proper communication with potential clients of the network and the research community.

PubMed | Animal and Plant Health Agency, IUCN, Northumbria University, Bangor University and 2 more.
Type: Review | Journal: Pest management science | Year: 2016

Numerous examples exist of successful mammalian invasive alien species (IAS) eradications from small islands (<10km

PubMed | Instituut voor Natuur- en Bosonderzoek, Ghent University and Hasselt University
Type: | Journal: International journal of phytoremediation | Year: 2016

Poplar clones were studied for their phytoextraction capacity in the second growth cycle (6 growth years) on a site in the Belgian Campine region which is contaminated with Cd and Zn via historic atmospheric deposition of nearby zinc smelter activities. The field trial revealed regrowth problems for some clone that could not be predicted in the first growth cycle. Four allometric relations were assessed for their capacity to predict biomass yield in the second growth cycle. A power function based on the shootdiameter best estimate the biomass production of poplar with R values between 0.94 and 0.98. The woody biomass yield ranged from 2.1 to 4.8 ton woody DM ha

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-CSA-Infra | Phase: INFRA-2007-2.2-01 | Award Amount: 6.37M | Year: 2008

The Life Watch e-Science and Technology Infrastructure for biodiversity data and observatories will be a large-scale European research infrastructure bringing together: -a system of marine, terrestrial and freshwater observatories; -common access to a huge amount of interlinked, distributed data from databases and monitoring sites; -computational facilities in virtual laboratories with analytical and modelling tools; -targeted user and training support and a programme for public services. The biodiversity research infrastructure will open up new and exciting research opportunities, and will help to enhance the understanding and sustainable management of our natural environment. This preparatory project brings together the interested EU Member and Associated States with the objective to prepare a cooperation agreement on the construction and maintenance of the Life Watch research infrastructure. In addition, the leading networks in biodiversity science and stakeholder institutes are preparing the organisation and logistics for the following construction phase. The current project delivers the technical, legal and financial preparations required for entering and managing the Construction Phase. A range of policy issues are resolved with respect the organisation of the distributed infrastructure, its legal implications, construction logistics, user service, cost analysis and planning. In addition the project makes the necessary preparations in the domain of risk management and quality control. The project is planned to take three years. A Policy and Science Board, populated by the representatives of fourteen potentially interested partner countries and eight cooperating scientific networks, oversees the progress of the preparations. The individual members of the Board act as the liaison with their political domains and the research communities, respectively.

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