How can you use biodiversity data to make the right decisions?

See examples of case studies using BioVeL products toward decision making.


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WORKSHOP 1 - Wednesday, Dec. 10, 1:30-3:00pm

Predictive biogeography – forecasting invasive corridors and risk zones for conservation and management of natural resources

Principal organizers: Hannu Saarenmaa / Yuliya Fetyukova


Biological invasions have dramatically increased in the past decades causing the homogenization of communities and contributing to the global decline of biodiversity. Statistical correlation approaches such as species distribution modeling (SDM) are invaluable as resource to predict the impact of potentially invasive species and allow preventive measures to be put in place before alien organisms establish breeding populations. However, the analysis of such invasive patterns across wider taxonomic and geospatial scales is still difficult, as it requires the integration of taxonomic, ecological, and environmental information.

This workshop will train the attendees to carry out their own predictive invasion study for a given ecological group in a region of interest under various climate scenarios, and analyze the results in the context conservation and management programs. The program includes a short introduction with examples from marine Ballastwater and terrestrial forest pest invasions. This will be followed by a number of practical exercises that guide the participants through the assembly of taxonomic, ecological, and environmental data, and perform a species distribution analysis. The practical exercises will be carried out using BioVeL Taverna workflows for data cleaning and ecological niche modeling, and will be supported by extensive tutorials and example input data. The workshop will be wrapped-up with a discussion of possible research projects in the field of invasive biogeography, where the participants can reflect about the suitability of the various methods for addressing the challenges. The outcome of the training is expected to enable participants to design their own predictive biogeographic study based on the latest methods.

WORKSHOP 2 - Thursday, Dec. 11, 10:45-12:45pm

Modelling ecosystems on-line – data-model fusion and predicting/quantifying ecosystem service consequences of various land use and climate change scenarios

Principal Organiser: Ferenc HORVÁTH


i) Biome-BGC MuSo is an improved process-based biogeochemical model to simulate functioning of natural and managed ecosystems. It is representing the key ecological processes under various environmental conditions and land use options. Multi-parametric models like Biome-BGC must be constrained with data to quantify and address their sound performance and uncertainties. According to the model-data fusion approach model characterization and parameter estimation are key aspects to reach better model performance. New on-line ecosystem modelling tools can enables a wider array of scientists to perform simulations for carbon sequestration or ecosystem service quantification not previously possible due to high complexity and computational demand

ii) Introductory presentations will expose the theoretical bases, the improved features of the Biome-BGC model, and overview of the on-line tools. Two sessions are devoted to train attendees in an interactive and participatory manner. One for individually run Sensitivity Analysis (SA) of the model parameters, and a Generalized Likelihood Uncertainty Estimation (GLUE) to fine tune these parameters. The second for applying different land use change options (e.g. afforestation of abandoned fields) and perform simulations to get carbon sequestration and ecosystem service indicators. Groups will be formed to make collective decisions on land use change within a framework of an on-line regional case study.

iii) Improve ecosystem modelling to support carbon sequestration and ecosystem studies affected by human interventions is a leading-edge topic. Professor Zoltán Barcza is a topical researcher in developments of Biome-BGC ecosystem modelling. Ferenc Horváth is the leader of development of on-line ecosystem modelling tools.


WORKSHOP 3 - Thursday, Dec. 11, 10:45-12:45pm

Macroecology meets macroevolution: evolutionary dynamics of niches over phylogenies

Principal organizer: Saverio Vicario


i) Molecular phylogenetic inference is a powerful approach for reconstructing evolutionary history. The combination with statistical correlation methods such as ecological niche modelling (ENM) and a rapidly growing corpus of open data allows larger studies of eco-evolutionary responses to climatic changes in the environment. However, such approaches are computationally demanding and require an integrated access to data and methods from many disciplines, including taxonomy, phylogenetics, ecology, and climatology. This creates obstacles for wider applications of such ‘phyloclimatic modelling’ in conservation and ecosystem research.

ii)The workshop addresses this challenge and introduces concepts, techniques, and resources for scalable taxonomic, phylogenetic and niche modelling analysis in ecological research. The program starts with a short introduction as well as an example case, followed by a number of practical exercises that guide the participants through all principal steps of a phyloclimatic analysis. For this purpose, we will provide extensive tutorials (incl. input data) with all analytical exercises in form of a hardcopy and e-copy. Participants will work in groups of 2.

iii)The workshop will finish with a short  plenary, collecting feedback and discussing individual research ideas. The speakers comprise a group of young key interdisciplinary scientists working on the forefront of systematic research, and developing analytical services for ecological and evolutionary research. After the workshop, participants are expected to be able to design their own research project that integrates phylogenetic with biogeographic analyses.





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.