1 | IPBES Belgian Uptake event 2 | Register to our Data Use and Data Cleaning workshop 3 | Register to the BEES Young Scientist Day 4 | BEES Market 2018 : Call for stands and workshops 5 | Open consultation by the Walloon Parliament on the decline of biodiversity 6 | The inland water macro-invertebrate occurrences in Flanders 7 | GBIF.org surpasses 1 billion species occurence records 8 | Save-the-date: Scientific Communication workshop 9 | Three questions to Rudy Vannevel, Associate Director at Flanders Environment Agency (VMM)


Biodiversity Newsflash 81

July 2018

1 | IPBES Belgian Uptake event

IPBES is the largest endeavour to date to assess the global state of nature and human-nature relationships. Since the Millenium Ecosystem Assessment in 2005, scientific literature on biodiversity and ecosystem services has quadrupled, and IPBES additionally assesses data from many local assessments and indigenous and local knowledge. Recently, a plenary of over 100 states has adopted four regional assessments, generating major impact on science and policy. And this is just the start. The global assessment, and several other thematic ones are underway - as well as several capacity building and policy support activities.
You are invited to the IPBES Belgian Uptake event, a one-day opportunity to learn and discuss about IPBES, its outputs, its impact and future work. There will be substantial focus on the Europe and Central Asia assessment (ECA assessment) and opportunities to discuss how to take actions in Belgium based on its findings. You will also learn how you can engage in IPBES and you will meet with several Belgian IPBES experts, and the ECA assessment Co-Chair. 

Presentations, panel discussions, movies and participatory sessions (see programme)...this will be exciting. We would love you to be there. You are just a click away from the guest list

Where? Herman Teirlinck building, Brussels 
When? 1st October 2018

For more information, contact Dr Hilde Eggermont, National Focal Point to the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES)

2 | Register to our Data Use and Data Cleaning workshops 

As Belgian Node to the Global Biodiversity Information Facility, the Belgian Biodiversity Platform organises a 2-day workshop on Data Use and a 2-day workshop on Data Cleaning.

  • Workshop on Data Use, 20-21 September 2018
This Data Use workshop will be an occasion to learn about the GBIF.org portal, open data principles, and some exciting data visualisation tools. You will also increase your skills in open biodiversity data and you will discover tools for data management and visualisation. Please use this registration form to mark your interest. More information on the event page.
  • Workshop on Data Cleaning, 27-28 August 2018
This workshop will increase your skills in open biodiversity data and is a good opportunity to discover data cleaning tools. You will learn how to document and clean your research data with the goal to increase its quality and ultimately to make it reusable for further research. Participants are expected to bring their own data as they will have the opportunity to work on it. Please mark your interest by filling this registration form. More information on the event page.

Since both workshops are limited to 20 participants, candidates are asked to motivate their participation.

For more information about the workshops, please contact Andre Heughebaert, our GBIF Belgian Node manager.

3 | Register to the BEES Young Scientist Day
The BEES Young Scientist Day 2018 will take place on 5 October 2018. We will hide at the Field Research Centre (FRC) and Ecotrons, Hasselt University, in Connecterra. We'll visit the site, have fun, learn about research- society impact, have fun, learn from each other and further build on the ecology and society science-practice network. And have fun. 

Who can apply?
PhD students, young postdocs, people active in novel projects in the broad theme of ecosystems & society,... who want to extend the scope beyond strictly specialized or fundamental research, and are interested in exploring the crossroads of ecology, economy, governance and sustainability.

What will happen? 
An informal, interactive afternoon focused on developing interdisciplinary cooperation and exploring transdisciplinary opportunities. We will visit the site, share our experiences with short inspiring presentations, and have an interactive session, all while enjoying the nature and scientific atmosphere.

Wait...but why?
First, exchange with peers is essential for research quality and network building. Second, learning to link projects with stakeholders and policy makers in early phases is highly beneficial for impact of your research. Third, ... well it's just fun to meet new people working on similar topics, outside of your office. 

So, please submit your 300 word motivation by 15 September. We welcome contributions on nature and society interactions, ecosystem services, natural capital, trade-offs, conflicts and solutions in spatial planning and broad related issues from all disciplines and projects. 

For more information, please contact Sander Jacobs, BEES Coordinator
4 | BEES Market 2018 : Call for stands and workshops
The BEES market is the single event gathering research and practice on the topic of 'ecosystems and society' on a Belgian scale. Research institutes and academic groups, administration projects and local initiatives on nature, forestry, agriculture, ecosystem services, environmental justice, green economy etc. meet in a personal and relaxed atmosphere, learning from each other and strengthening the community. 

Please fill out the following submission page for stand and/or workshop proposal and you'll be contacted quickly. Registration for participants will open soon. 

When? 18 December 2018
Where? at INBO headquarters, in Brussels

For more information, please contact Sander Jacobs, BEES Coordinator
5 | Open consultation by the Walloon Parliament on the decline of biodiversity

Give your opinion on a motion for a resolution to the Walloon Parliament! A public consultation is now open online regarding the decline of biodiversity in Wallonia. The motion aims at providing an urgent, transversal and wide-ranging response to the decline of biodiversity and the resources it provides to Wallonia.

When a motion for a resolution is tabled in Parliament, it is possible for citizens, associations, societies or institutions to express their opinion to the members of the competent parliamentary committee. You now have your chance to express your opinion on this issue!

Read the motion for a resolution on biodiversity in Wallonia (in French only). 

Participate in the online consultation (in French only) by 13 September 2018

6 | The inland water macro-invertebrate occurrences in Flanders 

The Flanders Environment Agency (VMM) has been performing biological water quality assessments on inland waters in Flanders (Belgium) since 1989 and sediment quality assessments since 2000. The water quality monitoring network is a combined physico-chemical and biological network, the biological component focusing on macro-invertebrates. The sediment monitoring programme produces biological data to assess the sediment quality. Both monitoring programmes aim to provide index values, applying a similar conceptual methodology based on the presence of macro-invertebrates.

The biological data obtained from both monitoring networks are consolidated in the VMM macro-invertebrates database and include identifications at family and genus level of the freshwater phyla Coelenterata, Platyhelminthes, Annelida, Mollusca, and Arthropoda. This paper discusses the content of this database, and the dataset published thereof: 282,309 records of 210 observed taxa from 4,140 monitoring sites located on 657 different water bodies, collected during 22,663 events. This paper provides some background information on the methodology, temporal and spatial coverage, and taxonomy, and describes the content of the dataset. The data are distributed as open data under the Creative Commons CC-BY license.

Authors: Rudy Vannevel, Dimitri Brosens (from the Belgian Biodiversity Platform), Ward De Cooman, Wim Gabriels, Frank Lavens, Joost Mertens, Bart Vervaeke.

Access the data paper on ZooKeys.

For more information on data papers, please contact Dimitri Brosens.

7 | GBIF.org surpasses 1 billion species occurence records

On 4 July 2018, the number of species occurrences available through GBIF.org has surpassed 1 billion records. The milestone symbolises a major collective achievement, one made possible through the work of the GBIF network, a diverse partnership of more than 1,200 public and private organizations from 123 countries. GBIF’s global index and research infrastructure provides anyone, anywhere, with instant access to free and open data about where and when life forms occur on Earth.

Belgium actively participated in reaching this major achievement. We play an exemplary role in this network when it comes to data publication and data use. We have been an active member of the GBIF network since its inception and we have provided more than 20 millions records. Acting as Belgian GBIF Node, the Belgian Biodiversity Platform coordinates this effort by mobilising and publishing biodiversity data in Belgium. The Belgian Biodiversity Platform cooperates with the federated entities and coordinates the network of 19 institutions. As a result, GBIF open data has been actively used by Belgian scientists to track amongst others, invasive alien species and freshwater biodiversity.

Read the full news on our website and the original news item on GBIF website. For more information, please contact André Heughebaert, Belgian GBIF Node Manager. 

8 | Save-the-date: Scientific Communication workshop

On 13 November 2018, the Belgian Biodiversity Platform will organise a scientific communication workshop to provide Belgian scientists with tips and tools on how to improve their communication skills. This one-day event will provide insights on multiple communication-related topics: communicating with decision-makers, with media, creating campaigns on social media, developing a communication plan for scientific projects, etc.

All scientists, including early career scientists, are most welcome. The event will take place on 13 November 2018 in Brussels, at the Belgian Science Policy Office (Belspo). Registration will be available soon.

For more information, please contact Angelique Berhault, Communication coordinator of the Belgian Biodiversity Platform.

9 | Three questions to Rudy VannevelAssociate Director at Flanders Environment Agency (VMM)

1. Could you describe the challenges and opportunities that institutes such as VMM (Flemish Environment Agency) are currently facing?
As a governmental environment agency, aquatic biodiversity is one the issues that poses serious challenges to VMM. Biological water quality significantly improved over the past decades, but at present public authorities seem to be even more confronted with a multitude of disturbances on aquatic biota and habitats: declining insect populations, and effects of droughts, invasive species, new dangerous substances, and microplastics. This makes it challenging for water managers to define, allocate and impose appropriate measures. In addition, the European Commission forces member states to ‘predict’ the future ecological status of water bodies. This involves additional monitoring requirements, big data analysis, and ecological modelling. At the same time, this generates opportunities for research. To mention: the development of new environmental quality standards and indicators, new monitoring techniques (eDNA), predictive ecosystem modelling, ecotoxicology, and community and species trait analysis. Hence, the environment agencies’ role to bridge policy and research is increasing.

2. Based on the current landscape on biodiversity in Belgium, what do you think is the added value of the Belgian Biodiversity Platform for an organisation such as VMM? 
The recent upload of the VMM macro-invertebrate dataset into the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) responds to an old aspiration and failing attempt in the 1990s to distribute our data to the public and scientific community and to safeguard our biota data at a higher level. It made clear that, with many smaller and larger players in the field, this couldn’t be done without the organisational structure the Belgian Biodiversity Platform offers. Although VMM disposes of a large biological dataset, biota is only one of the many topics it deals with. So, there is a mutual interest to share data and experiences.

3. How would you see the collaboration between the Belgian Biodiversity Platform and VMM in the future? 
With ‘Science, Policy, and Practice’, the Belgian Biodiversity Platform and VMM have a firm common basis, which asks to be further explored. Being aware that a deeper level of research is required to better understand the complexity of aquatic ecosystems, VMM feels the need to intensify organisational collaboration when it comes to aquatic biota. Becoming part of a broad network of scientists and policy-makers is crucial to VMM. At this moment, there is already a good co-operation with a number of aquatic experts and institutes, but referring to the challenges and opportunities, we hope this will intensify the communication with the scientific community.

© 2018 Belgian Biodiversity Platform, All rights reserved.
‘Biodiversity Newsflash’ is published by the Belgian Biodiversity Platform, an initiative by the
Belgian Science Policy Office (BELSPO)



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