Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: ENV.2008.2.1.4.1. | Award Amount: 8.12M | Year: 2009
Scientists and water managers have collected a vast amount of data on freshwater organisms, and yet it is rarely possible to describe the geographic range of an organism. Why is this? It is because the data are dispersed in many locally-managed databases, many of which are not publically available. The bits of the puzzle are scattered, and it is difficult even to find them. What story might they tell if they were combined and easily accessible to scientists, policy makers and planners? Such an integrated and accessible dataset could be used not only to help to protect and take better advantage of the services provided by aquatic ecosystems, but also to make it possible to establish effective regional plans for conservation. BioFresh, a major new FP7 project, will design and provide a single point of access to the extensive information on freshwater organisms that is currently stored in the databases. The BioFresh information portal for freshwater biodiversity will allow scientists and planners to complement, integrate, and analyse quantitative data to discover, evaluate and examine patterns that will shed new light on how freshwater biodiversity responds to global, European, and local environmental pressures. The spatially-explicit data will help to reveal the status and trends of freshwater biodiversity, and the services that it provides. Scientists in the BioFresh consortium will take advantage of the information in the databases that the project links, by using the data to examine how various stressors interact to impact freshwater biodiversity. This work will help to shed light on how future climate and socioeconomic pressures will give rise to global, continental and local responses in freshwater biodiversity. Until now, it has not always been easy to incorporate understanding of freshwater biodiversity explicitly into environmental agreements (EU WFD, for example) or in related policy instruments (for example the Habitats Directive). BioFresh aims to change that, by providing both the access to valuable data and an appropriate and coherent scientific foundation. The products and findings of the project will be used on the one hand to make people more aware of the importance and beauty of freshwater biodiversity, and on the other to help policy makers take decisions based on the best available evidence.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-CSA-Infra | Phase: INFRA-2012-1.1.16. | Award Amount: 10.15M | Year: 2013
SYNTHESYS3 will create an accessible, integrated European resource for researchers in the natural sciences in Europe and globally. Building on the success of the previous SYNTHESYS IA, the NA will focus on improving collections management of new physical and virtual collections. By focusing the JRA on extracting and enhancing data from digitised collections, SYNTHESYS3 will increase the accessibility of these 390 million strong collections. A wide range of services and access both physical and digital will be provided to a broad range of scientific Users (from biological and geological related disciplines) in a consistent and accessible way. The natural history collections, held within the museums and herbaria, of Europe are World-class in terms of their magnitude and taxonomic coverage. They represent a resource unique in Europe as a model of the diversity of life on earth and are a physical dataset enabling Users to research how the human activity (including climate change) is having an increasingly negative impact on the diversity and distribution of biodiversity, which is threatening the continued provision of ecosystem services essential to human well-being.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ENV.2012.6.2-2 | Award Amount: 11.59M | Year: 2012
Sustainable governance of our biological resources requires reliable scientific knowledge that meets the needs of society. Current biodiversity observation systems and environmental datasets are unbalanced in coverage and not integrated, limiting integrative analyses and implementation of environmental policies. EU BON presents an innovative approach towards integration of biodiversity information systems from on-ground to remote sensing data, for addressing policy and information needs in a timely and customized manner. EU BON will provide integration between social networks of science and policy and technological networks of interoperating IT infrastructures, resulting in a new open-access platform for sharing biodiversity data and tools, and greatly advance biodiversity knowledge in Europe. EU BONs 30 partners from 18 countries are members of networks of biodiversity data-holders, monitoring organisations, and leading scientific institutions. EU BON will build on existing components, in particular GBIF, LifeWatch infrastructures, and national biodiversity data centres. EU BON will 1) enable greater interoperability of data layers and systems through adoption of new standards; 2) advance data integration by new (modelling) technologies; 3) increase data mobilisation via scientific communities, citizen scientists, and potential data users; 4) develop strategies for future harmonizing and mainstreaming of biodiversity recording and monitoring; 5) improve analytical tools and services interpreting biodiversity data; 6) support the science-policy interface by timely information and scenario development; 7) link integrated, customized information to relevant stakeholders, and 8) strengthen overall European capacities and infrastructures for environmental information management. EU BONs deliverables include a comprehensive European Biodiversity Portal for all stakeholder communities, and strategies for a global implementation of GEO BON and supporting IPBES.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-CSA-Infra | Phase: INFRA-2008-1.1.1 | Award Amount: 9.65M | Year: 2009
SYNTHESYS IA will aid in the evolution of a European resource through the creation an accessible, integrated infrastructure for researchers in the natural sciences in Europe and globally. By focusing the JRA on DNA extraction, SYNTHESYS IA will increase the opportunities for Users to exploit a largely untapped facet of the 337 million strong collections. Users will be able to play an active role in generating new knowledge based on molecular and morphological studies. A range of new services and improved access both physical and digital will be provided to a broad range of scientific Users (from biological and geological related disciplines) in a consistent and more easily accessible way. The new tools to be developed and disseminated will give Users the chance to pursue new avenues for independent studies at the leading edge of biodiversity and environmental research.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-ITN | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2011-ITN | Award Amount: 3.58M | Year: 2012
Understanding the processes that control the transport of metals in the environment is essential for a wide range of fields, including environmental protection and remediation, mineral resources, climate change. Through recent analytical developments, it is possible, using natural variations in metal isotopes, to identify and quantify how metal concentrations in natural waters are controlled by interactions with mineral surfaces, microbially-mediated reactions, and release during mineral weathering, and so significantly advancing our understanding of the fate and consequences of metal transport in the environment However, such applications have not been extensively exploited. The proposed MetTrans scientific and training Network will address a range of critical societal and industrial applications. This includes the abiotic and microbial immobilization of contaminants, the role of metals in carbon sequestration, and the response of metal transport to climate change. This requires interdisciplinary input, from chemistry, geology, physics, biology, hydrology, and engineering, and the solution to many of these problems requires close academic-industrial collaboration academia will provide the scientific expertise and state-of-the-art analytical techniques to the practical applications confronted by industry. Although the particular research questions considered are diverse, the underlying scientific principles and analytical techniques are similar. This therefore provides an excellent platform to train young scientists in using of isotopic methods, understanding metal behaviour, and utilizing skills broadly. The Network focuses on providing training on analytical skills, on understanding fundamental principles, and on modelling, and exposes young scientists to a wide range of opportunities for applying this training in research and industry.
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.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-ITN-ETN | Phase: MSCA-ITN-2014-ETN | Award Amount: 3.89M | Year: 2015
BIG4 is a global network to amalgamate the cutting edge methods of genomics, phylogenetics, informatics, taxonomy, semantic biodiversity publishing and citizen science, into highly competitive cross-disciplinary training programme for 15 ESRs with a stronghold in biosystematics. These 15 future leaders will extend the exploration of the four biggest groups of living organisms in a more forward looking way than has been attempted before. The urgent focus on the big four insect groups, i.e. Coleoptera (beetles), Hymenoptera (wasps, ants and bees), Diptera (flies and mosquitoes), and Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths) is justified by the super abundance of this form of Life, and by the growing need by science and society to make better use of the enormous potential hidden in their biological diversity. BIG4 aims  to gain a robust systematic knowledge that explains the evolutionary origin, diversification, past and present distributions of living organisms,  to model their future dispersal and  to predict the traits of species that are yet unknown. Additionally, BIG4 strives for  implementing organismal features into engineering, medicine, agricultural or environmental solutions, the insect flight mechanics and more effective pollination to mention just a few. Such knowledge is in a particularly high demand in respect of the four biggest insects groups comprising the most important model organisms, the most dangerous pests or disease vectors, the most abundant invasive species and the most fragile entire species communities undergoing extinction due to habitat destruction. By integrating academia with the business and public sectors, BIG4 will greatly increase services and beneficial products provided by the biosystematics as a science. BIG4 will place insect mega-diversity as a powerful service for economic and societal needs such as environmental monitoring, biological control, biomedicine, or ecological farming.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-IOF | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2010-IOF | Award Amount: 374.91K | Year: 2011
Current knowledge of the nature and origin of the earliest crust on Earth comes largely from studies of the mineral zircon. The oldest zircon crystals from Jack Hills in Australia provide a wealth of information and represent a time capsule of what the Earth was like from 4.4 to 4.0 Ga during the Hadean. These zircons are detrital grains preserved in much younger rocks, and no known rocks of this age have survived on Earth. By applying the most upto-date technologies to various isotopic systems in these zircons, it has been possible to deduce that continental crust and oceans formed early in Earth`s history and that the planet cooled more quickly than was previously realised. The aim of this proposal is to compare the information acquired from these detrital grains with comparable new data to be obtained from the earliest known rocks on Earth. These ancient rocks are preserved in Antarctica, Canada, China, Greenland, Western Australia and Swaziland. Extensive investigation of these rocks will allow us to characterize further the nature of the earliest preserved crust and, more importantly, to document what changes took place from the formation of the earliest zircons (4.4 Ga) to the oldest preserved crust (4.03 Ga) and to evaluate why so few Hadean rocks survived on Earth. This period represents the dark ages in terms of Earth history and marks the onset of stable conditions on the Earth that set the stage for a habitable planet.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-IEF | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2010-IEF | Award Amount: 185.96K | Year: 2011
Earths surficial chemistry evolved in close association with life, exemplified by the incorporation of trace metals into the active sites of many enzymes involved in major biogeochemical processes and as structural components of proteins. Consequently, trace metal bioavailability has likely exerted a major influence upon rates of specific microbial processes throughout Earth history. Changes in the bioavailability of trace metals would have had a significant impact on microbial processes and biogeochemical elemental cycling across Earths first Great Oxidation Event (GOE) ca. 2.3 billion years ago (Ga), when atmospheric O2 rose from essentially nothing to ca. 1-5% of present atmospheric levels (PAL). At this time, ocean chemistry evolved from anoxic and Fe-rich to the widespread occurrence of deeper water sulphidic conditions. During this early oxygenation period, dominant microbial pathways would have shifted considerably. For example, microaerophilic CH4 oxidation predicted to have evolved by 2.7 Ga, may have become more important as surface waters became oxygenated, and could have reduced CH4 emissions into the Precambrian atmosphere by up to 90%. This could have potentially contributed to the development of widespread glaciations by 2.3 Ga, and to the depletion of a significant sink for O2, thereby facilitating the rise of atmospheric O2. However, rates of microbial activity and the interaction of various key microorganisms under the chemical conditions existing at that time remain poorly constrained. In this proposal, microbial experiments will be combined with Cu (regulates the synthesis, expression and activity of CH4 monooxygenases) isotopic analyses of key late Archaean to mid-Proterozoic geologic successions, to test hypotheses pertinent to aerobic biological CH4 cycling under Archaean-Proterozoic environmental conditions. New insights linking aerobic biological CH4 oxidation to the rise of atmospheric O2 and climate in the deep past will be established.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-IIF | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2011-IIF | Award Amount: 241.04K | Year: 2013
Biodiversity loss and climate change are the most critical environmental threats today. In order to predict future changes and develop conservation strategies, we must understand the evolutionary and ecological processes underlying species response to global change. This project will improve our predictions of the future by looking to the past, using ancient DNA technology to track genetic change of six taxa with varying levels of human impact, habitat specialization, and sensitivity to climate over the last 45,000 years. Ancient DNA will be integrated with ecological-niche models in a novel statistical framework, enabling for the first time quantitative model evaluation, an understanding of the underlying climatic and human factors influencing species response, and improvement of future predictions. This project brings Dr. Chans analytical expertise developed in the US to Dr. Dalens ancient DNA datasets and ecological models, to advance European research excellence in addressing climate change and biodiversity loss.