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LifeWatch Belgium: a highly innovative infrastructure for biodiversity research

Added on 2020-10-20 16:26:19 by Dekeyzer, Stefanie
The third edition of the LifeWatch.be Users & Stakeholders Meeting took place on October 15th and 16th 2020. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this year’s edition happened entirely online.
LifeWatch Belgium is one of the national nodes of the European LifeWatch infrastructure, and can be described as a high-technology virtual laboratory for biodiversity research. To exhibit its progress, the Belgian LifeWatch community met online during a two-day event on October 15th and 16th 2020. The event was open to all users and stakeholders of the Belgian LifeWatch infrastructure. With 100 registrations from a multitude of Belgian research institutes, universities and policy bodies, it turned out to be an interesting and insightful event!

Day 1 (October 15th) started with a general introduction of LifeWatch Belgium by Klaas Deneudt from the Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ). During the remainder of the morning, the Belgian LifeWatch partners brought a series of users stories:
  • The World Ocean Assessment, a global exercise supported by the LifeWatch Species Information Backbone (Leen Vandepitte, VLIZ)
  • Downstream migration through a shipping canal: challenges on the road (Jenna Vergeynst, UGent)
  • Comparison of methods to model species habitat networks for decision-making in nature conservation: the case of the wildcat in southern Belgium (Axel Bourdouxhe, LifeWatch-WB)
  • Biodiversity.aq and POLAAAR portal use case: DNA metabarcoding of the prey and microbiome of museum specimens of Antarctic fishes (Henrik Christiansen, Biodiversity.aq)
  • The need for accurate and comprehensive DNA sequence databases to reliably identify species of policy concern (Kenny Meganck and Sophie Gombeer, BopCo)

On day 2 (October 16th), the Belgian LifeWatch partners demonstrated specific aspects of the Belgian LifeWatch infrastructure:
  • LifeWatch data R package (Lennert Schepers, VLIZ)
  • Agouti: A platform for managing wildlife camera-trapping projects (Tanja Milotic, INBO)
  • Exploring the landscape via the ecotopes with GIS softwares (Julien Radoux, LifeWatch-WB)
  • POLA3R (Maxime Sweetlove, Biodiversity.aq)
  • The process of DNA-based species identification: bushmeat as a case story (Ann Vanderheyden, BopCo)

The event clearly demonstrated that the Belgian LifeWatch community is an active and involved one. The multitude of interesting and impressive user stories highlighted the individual projects that are going on and the immense progress LifeWatch Belgium is making.

The program (with links to the presentations and demonstration videos) is available on the link below.

Link: https://lifewatch.be/en/events/users-stakeholders-meeting-2020



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