BioVeL lab foundation for LifeWatch Marine VRE

LifeWatch Marine Virtual Research Environment (VRE):

BioVeL Virtual e-Laboratory: and

Cardiff, 13th February 2015: Launched February 2015, the LifeWatch Marine Virtual Research Environment (VRE), incorporating BioVeL virtual laboratory technology brings together for the first time relevant resources for Web-based marine research: data systems, Web services, workflows, online tools, etc. in one environment in the context of LifeWatch.

LifeWatch marine VRE supports long-term marine environmental research and enables scientists to access resources and conduct analysis without having to install or configure any additional software. With everything accessible in one place, scientists can access data resources and tools and collaborate together. They can analyse their data in conjunction with data from other sources. They can develop new analyses to supplement the methods already available.

Biodiversity Virtual Laboratory (BioVeL) technology makes this possible with infrastructure for executing workflows (including embedded R scripts), managing and sharing the results; and with BiodiversityCatalogue for discovering relevant tools and services for biodiversity and ecological analysis of all kinds. Off-the-shelf workflows for ecological niche modelling, population modelling, phylogenetics, metagenomics and data preparation and refinement make it easy to get started.

Francisco (Tjess) Hernandez, Data Centre Manager at the Flanders Marine Institute, Ostende, Belgium says: “BioVeL successfully brought together scientists of very different worlds to bring the results of information technology to biodiversity research. Using novel IT technologies, like web services and workflows, they built practical research tools for solving complex analyses and taught their colleagues how to build their own. We are happy to share these results with the marine scientists, and will further promote this successful approach.”

Alex Hardisty, Coordinator of the BioVeL project, a consortium of 15 international partners led by Cardiff University, UK says: “More than 10 years in the making, the BioVeL technology that forms the foundation of this newly launched LifeWatch Marine VRE is the first step towards the day when any research group, anywhere will be able to start their own virtual laboratory for biodiversity and ecological research - just like research groups can equip their own physical laboratories today. With the coming explosion of ‘big ecological data’ we’re on the verge of changing the way we generate collective and in-depth knowledge to address the planet’s biodiversity concerns”.

Cardiff University is the lead partner in the BioVeL consortium, responsible for all aspects of the Biodiversity Virtual e-Laboratory initiative and one of the lead technical architects for the LifeWatch research infrastructure for biodiversity and ecosystems research. For more information, including to become a user of BioVeL public laboratory please contact:

Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ), Ostende is responsible for the national LifeWatch initiative in Belgium, and on behalf of the research community in Europe for the LifeWatch Marine VRE. For more information about the LifeWatch Marine Virtual Research Environment, please contact:




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.