Marine Biodiversity Networking Friday with DTO-BioFlow

Integrating Marine Biodiversity Data into the Digital Twin of the Ocean

On November 24th, 2023, from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM UTC, we will have a special session with Dr Klaas Deneudt, Matthias Obst and Lynn Delgat. The ocean and its biodiversity are essential to life on this planet. Comprehensive data on biodiversity and related human and environmental pressures are crucial to understanding its current state and how this may change. Despite myriad actors collecting biodiversity data, and the development of novel cost-effective monitoring technologies, much data is inaccessible or unusable. The DTO-BioFlow project “Integration of biodiversity monitoring data into the Digital Twin of the Ocean” will activate access to (“sleeping”) marine biodiversity data and enable the sustainable integration of existing new Artificial Intelligence processed and automated data flows from various sources to generate a digital replica of marine biological processes and transform new and current data flows into evidence-based knowledge, supporting the development of policy-relevant tools and services for effective monitoring, restoration, and protection of marine biodiversity.

Programme (UTC)

11:00 AM – Introducing the DTO-BioFlow project: General objectives, Consortium and Work plan. Klaas Deneudt, Marine Observation Center, Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ), Belgium.

11:20 AM – DTO-BioFlow: Building demonstrator use cases connecting monitoring networks, new data streams, analytical resources and societal applications. Matthias Obst, Department of Marine Sciences, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

11:35 AM – DTO-BioFlow: Launching a call for marine biodiversity (monitoring) data. Leen Vandepitte, Data center, Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ).

11:40 AM – Discussion on international collaboration and networks.

12:00 PM – Closing.

This is an Ocean Decade Event.

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Klaas Deneudt

Klaas Deneudt

Introducing the DTO-BioFlow project: General objectives, Consortium and Work plan

Between September 2023 and February 2027, DTO-BioFlow Horizon Europe project will work towards sustainable integration of marine biodiversity monitoring data into the EU Digital Twin of the Ocean. A strong consortium of European research infrastructures, service providers and research institutes will build solutions to activate currently inaccessible biodiversity monitoring data. The project will increase the flow of relevant biodiversity data, and develop and integrate the biodiversity digital component of the EU Digital Twin Ocean. Demonstrate an end-to-end approach for biodiversity monitoring and establish mechanisms to monitor, measure progress & drive community action towards increasing biodiversity data flows into EU DTO by 2030.

Klaas Deneudt (KD) is head of the Marine Observation Center at VLIZ and coordinator of the LifeWatch Belgium National Distributed Center. The Marine Observation Center (MOC) is a young and dynamic Center that performs essential and long-term multidisciplinary observations in the marine environment, in order to improve the understanding of the dynamics and ecosystem functioning of marine and coastal ecosystems. This is done by developing, operating and optimizing cost-effective, innovative and integrated observation systems. MOC participates in key European projects in the marine biodiversity domain, such as Marco-Bolo, ANERISMARBEFES, STRAITS, etc. KD is a marine biologist with more than 20 years of experience in marine biodiversity observation and related data management in a European context. Klaas is a member of the EuroGOOS Biological Observing Working Group, member of the European Marine Omics Biodiversity Observation Network (EMO BON) operational committee, former chair of the EMBRC e-infrastructure working group, former member of the Group of Data Experts (GEDE) of the Research Data Alliance and former member of the IODE Working Group on Chemical and Biological Data. KD coordinates the DTO-BioFlow project that aims to integrate marine biodiversity data into the European Digital Twin Initiatives.

Matthias Obst

Matthias Obst

DTO BioFlow – Building demonstrator use cases connecting monitoring networks, new data streams, analytical resources and societal applications

The Digital Twin Ocean for Biodiversity project (DTO-Bioflow) will enable access to marine biodiversity data and integrate these data flows into the EU DTO. Solutions will be developed for building sustainable data streams for new types of biomonitoring data. The project implements seven demonstrator use cases (DUC) as end-to-end applications connecting monitoring networks, data systems, analytical resources and societal applications. The DUCs have been selected based on a match with the necessary criteria for the maturity of underlying biomonitoring programs, data and analysis services, and stakeholder needs. In this presentation, we will provide an overview of the use cases and show some examples of existing analytical resources and applications.

Matthias Obst (MO) is an expert in systematics, benthic ecology, and conservation biology. He is chair of the Swedish node of the European Marine Biological Research Center, EMBRC, and consortium chair of the Swedish Biodiversity Data Infrastructure ( In his research MO establishes harmonized and automated observation systems for biological diversity in the sea, spanning from genetic sensors to citizen observatories. He also develops methods and infrastructure to capture and integrate such data to enable interdisciplinary research for the protection and management of biological resources in the ocean. Examples are genetic monitoring networks  as well as services for massive analysis of subsea imagery. These resources are now integrated into the Digital Twin of the Ocean under the DTO-bioflow project. MO co-leads WP4 in the DTO-Bioflow project, which implements the use of end-to-end use cases and links monitoring networks, ICT infrastructure, and end-user applications.

Leen Vandepitte

DTO BioFlow – Launching a call for marine biodiversity (monitoring) data

To effectively replicate the ocean’s ecology, the DTO requires sustained flows of data on biodiversity and associated pressures. While biodiversity data are being collected by myriad actors, using a wide variety of methods (including novel cost-effective monitoring technologies), not all these data become publicly available in a standardized format. To increase the flow of relevant biodiversity, DTO-BioFlow launched a Financial Support to Third Parties (FSTP) call for marine biodiversity data holders who can contribute to the DTO-BioFlow project by establishing ingestion pipelines to the EU DTO through EMODnet Biology. Selected participants will receive up to €60.000 of financial support, and will be able to participate in a data training workshop. The call is currently open for applications until January 17th 2024, for more details click here.

Leen is trained as a marine biologist (MSc in Biology & MSc in Marine and Lacustrine Sciences) at the University of Ghent (Belgium). She is a project manager at the Data Centre division of the Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ) (Belgium), where she is running the MarineLife+ programme. MarineLife+ groups all activities on taxonomic, biogeographic and traits databases that are developed, hosted and maintained by VLIZ. She coordinates the Aphia database infrastructure (which includes the World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS), the European Ocean Biodiversity Information System (EurOBIS), the Interim Register of Marine and Non-Marine Genera (IRMNG) and the LifeWatch Species Information Backbone. She is also involved in the EMODnet Biology project, as lead of the work package on data management and is the current chair of the Global Team of Catalogue of Life (CoL). The MarineLife+ programme focuses on the interactions between these databases, on quality control and quality assurance, on how scientists can help in making them more complete and on how scientists and the public at large can make use of these systems. In addition, there is a focus on data exchanges and active collaborations with external databases, to widen the scope of and awareness for these initiatives.


Ana Carolina Peralta

Ana Carolina Peralta

Ana Carolina Peralta is a Research Associate at the Institute for Marine Remote Sensing at the University of South Florida (IMaRS-USF), working on a project on nitrogen pollution in coastal waters. She has a bachelor’s in biology from Universidad Nacional de La Plata (Argentina) (2004) and a PhD in Natural Science from Universidad Simón Bolívar (Venezuela) (2012), with a background in Marine Biology. She is a marine biology researcher with many years of experience in the reproductive biology and feeding behaviour of marine Caenogastropoda. She has more than 10 years of academic experience in teaching, research and outreach activities related to Marine Invertebrate Biology, Marine Biodiversity associated with Seagrass Ecosystem and Marine Invasive Species. Since 2016 she has been involved with the Ocean Biodiversity Observation Network (OBIS), a global data platform that acts as a data and information clearinghouse on marine biodiversity. Recently, she was selected as part of the Ocean Best Practices System, especially for Capacity Development, Communication and Outreach activities.

We will continue with the Networking Fridays during the next months. More information about future sessions as well as presentations and videos from previous sessions can be found here. Please do not forget to subscribe to our YouTube Channel.  Twitter Hashtag: #netfridays. Expect some very exciting mornings, afternoons or evenings, depending on where you are…

If you need any additional information please send an email to Jose Luiz Moutinho.

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