LifeWatch E-services | Lifewatch regional portal

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LifeWatch E-services

LifeWatch builds and operates open E-science infrastructure that can support biodiversity and ecosystem research. The developed e-services facilitate open data exchange, visualization and analysis and are provided to the user through dedicated Virtual Laboratories and applications. Virtual labs that provide marine services can be accessed through the Marine Virtual Research Environment (VRE).
Belgian LifeWatch E-Lab

One of the virtual laboratories developed by LifeWatch Belgium is the Belgian LifeWatch E-lab. This online application allows users to standardize, analyze and visualize their data, making use of web services built on top of internal and external reference databases.

A user can select several data services (taxonomic, geographic, thematic, etc.) and run them successively through a straightforward user interface. The web services can be used in a concatenated way, i.e. the output of one web service is the input for the next web service. Establishing such workflows helps solving (complicated) biological questions. The use of the LifeWatch web services is explained in a user guide and demonstrated in a few use cases.

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LifeWatch E-Lab
Open source software

In addition to the online applications LifeWatch is developing and maintaining, a number of open source software packages (mostly R packages) that support biodiversity data analysis. Additional packages and scripts, constructed by both developers and users, can be found on the various LifeWatch GitHub repositories. Tutorials and use cases assist and speed up the learning process to know how to use the Belgian LifeWatch services.

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Software & packages
Open data web services

More advanced users can run the Belgian LifeWatch (and other) web services within several platforms or software, and can run the web services consecutively, constituting so-called workflows. Here you can find an overview of existing web service catalogues, how to access the web services, how to connect the web services into workflows and some additional useful tools.

What are web services?

Within the envisaged e-infrastructure of LifeWatch, data exchange and data analysis are largely based on the use of web services. Web services are systems that allow communication between two computers over the web, and allow the user to access the most recent and up-to-date information directly from within other applications.

Where to find web services?

Most of the developed LifeWatch Belgium web services can be accessed through the E-Lab.

Some additional web services can be retrieved by consulting the catalogues and links below:

How to access web services?

Web services can be accessed from within several platforms or software. Web services can for example be built into PHP web pages, services management tool, R scripts, and even spreadsheets software like MS Excel. Secondary application servers can use the web services to access data from the provider and combine this output with other local processes. Some example implementations (specific for the WoRMS web services) can be found here.

How to connect web services into workflows?

To automate data intensive analysis, web services can be concatenated into scientific workflows. This is often done using graphical workflow management systems (e.g. Galaxy, Taverna, Kepler,…)  or by scripting (in R, Python, Bash, Perl, etc.).