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Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ)

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    This marine biodiversity observatory has been developed in the framework of the Flemish contribution to LifeWatch and applies automated and innovative technology (imaging, acoustics, genomic profiling) to capture biodiversity data in the Belgian part of the North Sea and its coastal areas. The observatory combines regular ship-based station measurements with a number of operational sensor networks. The observatory provides biodiversity and ecosystem information for the LTSER Belgian coastal waters and sand bank systems. Collected data is made available through LifeWatch data explorers, other virtual labs and global biodiversity data systems.

  • This online and interactive environment provides access to all data of the European Tracking Network. The VRE includes a database for storage and integration of acoustic telemetry data and a number of analytical tools for analysing the data using R that are: - the LifeWatch Data Explorer for fish telemetry, a RShiny GUI for data exploration; - an RStudio IDE that allows the user to develop and run R scripts online on the available telemetry data; - an Rpackage that incorporates specific functions to start a smooth analysis of telemetry data. The ETN data management platform is an online web application to store, access and share aquatic telemetry data and metadata. The portal is open to all European users for data management of telemetry data in marine, estuarine and freshwater environments. ETN now contains data of 15 fish species. Currently ETN supports acoustic telemetry data, but aims to extend this to different telemetry techniques (e.g. PIT data-storage tags and satellite tags) to be able to monitor habitat use and migration patterns of a range of species in the aquatic environment. On a technical note, the portal requires the receiver and deployment metadata, as well as the transmitter tag and animal metadata before detection data can be uploaded. The uploaded data are subjected to quality control. Access is password protected and data moratorium rules are in place. The ETN data portal is developed by the Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ) as part of the Flemish contribution to LifeWatch. New developments and additional features are added on a continuous basis. The web application is built using PHP (using the Symfony framework) for the back-end side and Bootstrap/jQuery/Datatables/… (among others) to facilitate the development of the front-end side.

  • In the marine domain, LifeWatch provides data services for a large and broad user community dealing with a variety of data types. Activities include provision of data tools and services for taxonomic, ecological, omics, biogeographic, environmental and biological observation data. Tools for data archiving, access, quality control, standardization, harmonization, analysis and publication are integrated in a Marine Virtual Research Environment (Marine VRE). In this regard, the LifeWatch Marine VRE aspires to be the transparent gateway to access, analyze and develop marine data resources. The Marine VRE is built on three components: - Through the "Access" page, the user can retrieve marine biodiversity and ecosystem data. For all resources listed, a description of the data on offer is available and connecting web links are displayed. - Arriving at the "Analyze" page, one can find applications and tools for advanced calculations, modelling and data processing. Through these environments, state-of-the-art workflows and modelling approaches are shared and accessible to all. - Finally, the "Develop" page allows the user to access data services, as well as develop their own. Documented R scripts and tutorials, outputs from expert workshops and detailed methodological workflow of certain data products or scientific publications are only a few examples of how Marine VRE puts the sharing of data and expertise to practice. Now, a marine researcher can access a multitude of available data, find the appropriate tools for analysis, apply and develop existing expertise through data services. Facilitating a scientist's pursuit of knowledge, the LifeWatch Marine VRE contributes to high quality marine research.

  • pyhydrophone is an open-source Python package that has been developed to ease the import of underwater sound data recorded with a hydrophone to python, so postprocessing and AI can be easily performed on the data afterwards. Different recorders can be added with their different way of reading metadata, so the users do not have to worry about the format but just about the outcome.

  • One of the virtual laboratories developed by LifeWatch Belgium is the Belgian LifeWatch eLab. This online application allows users to standardise, analyse and visualise their data, making use of web services built on top of internal and external reference databases. The ultimate goal of LifeWatch is to set up a network for data exchange and data analysis through web services. Web services are systems that allow communication between two computers over the web, and allow the user to access the most recent and up-to-date information directly from within other applications. Within LifeWatch Belgium, several web services are available to standardise, analyse and visualise your data, and to extract additional data from several sources. The user can select several data services (taxonomic, geographic, thematic, etc.) and run them successively through a straightforward online user interface. You can also use the LifeWatch.be web services in a concatenated way, i.e. the output of one web service is the input for the next web service. Establishing such workflows helps solving (complicated) biological questions. Several use cases demonstrate the use of the LifeWatch web services. So as to facilitate the use of the LifeWatch web services, several applications and tools were documented in use cases and tutorials. These can be found on the links below, as well as on the specific websites of software packages and Github repositories. The Belgian LifeWatch E-Lab online application allows users to standardize, analyze and visualize their data, making use of web services built on top of internal and external reference databases. A user can select several data services (taxonomic, geographic, thematic, etc.) and run them successively through a straightforward user interface. As explained in the user guide, the LifeWatch.be web services can be used in a concatenated way, i.e. the output of one web service is the input for the next web service.

  • The goal of MarineSPEED is to provide a benchmark data set for presence-only species distribution modeling (SDM) in order to facilitate reproducible and comparable SDM research. It contains species occurrences (coordinates) from a wide diversity of marine species and associated environmental data from Bio-ORACLE and MARSPEC. Some additional information about MarineSPEED can be found in the R Shiny viewer at https://rshiny.lifewatch.be/marinespeed/.

  • Acoustic monitoring is a powerful technique for learning about the ecology of bats. Bat recorders provide continuous registration of bat activity by recording echolocation calls of passing bats. Since the bat calls are highly reliable taxonomic features, the acquired data can be used to estimate diversity and relative abundance of the occurring species. The generated data provides a basis for ecological and behavioral research of the bat species occurring in our coastal and marine areas. BatSounds is an open source repository that contains scripts to work with BatCorder data and BatCorder devices. The repository contains two scripts that are useful to process and send the audio data retrieved by ecoObs Batcorders (https://ecoobs.com/): - Raw_to_wav is a python script that adds a header to raw audio files from the BatCorder so it can more easily be used by different softwares as a wav file. - beaglebone_batcorder is a bash-script to run on a Beaglebone Black minicomputer connected to a BatCorder. It copies the data from the BatCorder daily to its own SD card and sends it to an FTP server over Ethernet. It allows for remote data transfer and memory management of the BatCorder. LifeWatch Belgium has currently four ecoObs BatCorders installed. You can find more information here: https://lifewatch.be/en/sensor-network-bat-detection

  • WRIMS records which marine species in the World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) have been introduced deliberately or accidentally by human activities to geographic areas outside their native range. It excludes species that colonized new locations naturally (so called 'range extensions'), even if in response to climate change. WRIMS notes the origin (source location) of the species at a particular location by country, sea area and/or latitude longitude as available. If the species is reported to have caused ecological or economic impacts it is considered invasive in that location. Each record is linked to a source publication or specialist database. A glossary of terminology is available. Species of particular concern because of being invasive have a peer-reviewed profile on the Global Invasive Species Database (GISD). In using WRIMS, users need to consider possible species misidentifications in the sources, and that for some species it is uncertain which are their native and introduced ranges. Whether a species is 'invasive' can vary between locations and over time at a particular location. The WRIMS data resulted from a data collection project within the framework of EMODnet Biology, and was established by the Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ) in cooperation with the IUCN Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG). The WRIMS website is developed and hosted by VLIZ. WRIMS is part of the consolidated database Aphia, the database behind the World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS).

  • The package lwdataexplorer retrieves biodiversity, environmental or genetic data from the projects supported by LifeWatch Belgium. These data are also available to explore and download through the LifeWatch Data Explorer: an R Shiny application that allows you to check and download data from your browser.

  • This interactive online tool gives access to all sensor data collected in the framework of the Flemish LifeWatch project, and provides an interface to explore and analyze these data. Several thematic portals have been set up as part of the Data Explorer: - Underway Data Explorer - Station Data Explorer - Zooplankton Data Explorer - GPS Bird Tracking Data Explorer - Fish Telemetry Data Explorer - Batcorder Data Explorer - CPOD (marine mammals) Data Explorer Within the RShiny LifeWatch Data Explorer, five general sections are available to explore, plot, visualize and download data. Some of the more recent data is temporarily under moratorium and therefore protected by password access. The LifeWatch Data Explorer is built using RShiny server, Leaflet, ggplot2, PLotly, Dygraph and DataTables. The system is able to query MSSQL, PostgreSQL, Geoserver (WFS) and MongoDB servers.