BioVeL stems from the recognised need in biodiversity science and ecology for a digital "e-Infrastructure" to support research needs to coordinate, manage and analyse with large amounts of data from different sources.

BioVeL is also the continuity of the ESFRI LifeWatch vision developed during the first decade of the millennium: one of an integrated and distributed virtual research infrastructure to support biodiversity and ecosystems research. Within this large and global vision, BioVeL has been initiated as a pilot project supported by the European Commission e-Infrastructure programme, through an FP7 call. The project has been funded for a little more than three years from September 2011 through December 2014 for €5million.

More precisely, the Description of Work of the project explains:
"Biodiversity Virtual e-Laboratory (BioVeL) meets the needs of Europe’s Biodiversity Science research community with tools for pipelining data and analysis into efficient workflows, urgently needed to understand biodiversity in a rapidly changing environment. BioVeL customises, deploys and supports the Taverna / myExperiment / BioCatalogue family of software to achieve this.

Close user involvement is crucial to successful design and implementation of virtual laboratories. Close support and guidance makes all the difference in uptake of tools and their continued success. BioVeL places particular emphasis on targeted networking activities with specific sub-communities and tailored service activities that deliver training, helpdesk and consultancy assistance to solve specific problems. Using agile processes, BioVeL defines and deploys (web) service sets and workflow packs catering for sub-communities within the domain.

The project focuses on pilot topic areas:

  1. DNA sequence-based phylogeny and metagenomics services that help link knowledge of model organisms to a broad range of species, that provide a measure of genetic diversity used in conservation planning and that help to understand adaptation in relation to climate change;
  2. Taxonomy services to provide the underpinning checklist of diversity in Europe, identification aids to native, invasive and economic species;
  3. Niche and population modelling for species, to better understand the processes of conservation and invasive species management; and,
  4. Ecosystem functionality and valuation services, to improve modelling capabilities to ecosystem services and CO2 sequestration.

Through use of gateways, workflows composed in the BioVeL environment can be executed on a wide range of computing resources, including European e-Infrastructures (EGI, etc.).

Joint research activities investigate improvements to ease of use of workflows by exploring new middleware approaches to easier user interfaces."

The project consortium gathered 15 partners from 9 countries:

  1. Cardiff University, UK – Coordinator
  2. Centro de Referência em Informação Ambiental, Brazil
  3. Foundation for Research on Biodiversity, France
  4. Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, Institute IAIS, Germany
  5. Free University of Berlin – Botanical Gardens and Botanical Museum, Germany
  6. Hungarian Academy of Sciences Institute of Ecology and Botany, Hungary
  7. Max Planck Society, MPI for Marine Microbiology, Germany
  8. National Institute of Nuclear Physics, Italy
  9. National Research Council: Institute for Biomedical Technologies and Institute of Biomembrane and Bioenergetics, Italy
  10. Netherlands Centre for Biodiversity (NCB Naturalis), The Netherlands
  11. Stichting European Grid Initiative, The Netherlands
  12. University of Amsterdam, Institute of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics, The Netherlands
  13. University of Eastern Finland, Finland
  14. University of Gothenburg, Sweden
  15. University of Manchester, UK


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The BioVeL consortium at its 2nd Annual Meeting, Camargues, France, September 2012

The present website is one result of the project, providing entry to the live BioVeL infrastructure and products for a spectrum of different kinds of users: scientists wanting to run workflows; scientists/developers wanting to create their own workflows; technicians and builders of virtual laboratories; managers and other applied potential users of the infrastructure in policy and conservation settings, for example. We suggest beginning with the Getting Started page.

To see the complete set of 41 deliverables reports and 17 milestone reports, describing in significant detail all the work done during the project and the outcomes see this page of Deliverables reports and Milestone reports on the BioVeL public wiki pages.

The full Project Final Report is a complete explanation of the project and its work, set in the context of the problem to be solved and the topical science areas addressed. As well as describing the main science and technology results, it also explains the potential impact of the work and the main dissemination and exploitation activities carried out. There is an executive summary as well.




19 February 2015

At the final review of the project by the EC, one of the reviewers said: “Incredible work done with a community that is not unified. Remarkable work. It opens for new development in a near future. Hope for success. Good project. Happy that you have been financed three plus years ago.”

Read all about the project and its results in the Project Final Report or read the Executive Summary only.