A virtual workshop on Essential Biodiversity Variable (EBV) workflows was held on 22-24 February 2023, led by W. Daniel Kissling (WP4 lead) & Maria Lumbierres (WP4 postdoc) from the University of Amsterdam together with a large support team from the EuropaBON partner organisations. More than 520 people from 47 countries had registered to participate in the three 2-hour sessions from 11:00-13:00 CET on each of three consecutive days. The participants had an interest in all EBV classes and represented expertise from terrestrial, freshwater, marine and coastal ecosystems.
Prior to the workshop, an input document (Kissling & Lumbierres 2023) on EBV workflows with information about EuropaBON and EBV workflows was provided as an input material, together with the list of EBVs (openly accessible from GitHub) as identified by EuropaBON through an extensive stakeholder involvement over the last 2 years (Junker et al. 2023).
On day 1, an introductory presentation on EBV workflows was given before all participants split up into three break-out groups with focus on terrestrial, marine, and freshwater ecosystems. In the break-out sessions, the participants worked in about 70 Google sheets to fill information on workflow components for EBVs. The primary focus was on current initiatives and emerging tools, projects that can provide information on data collection and sampling, data integration and modelling of EBVs. All of these expertise were very well represented by the workshop participants:
During day 2, the participants continued to fill in the Google sheets, this time with further emphasis on the future needs of EBV workflows. Not only focusing on the needs for data collection and sampling, data integration and modelling, but also on interoperability aspects and needs for IT infrastructure.
The 3rd and last day of the workshop synthesised information for EBV workflows around different monitoring techniques. First, an online survey was conducted to identify which monitoring techniques are of central importance for generating specific EBVs at a European scale. Six different types of monitoring techniques were distinguished and subsequently used in six break-out sessions: structured in-situ monitoring programs, citizen science observations, genetics (e.g. AFLP/microsatellite, SNPs, and metabarcoding eDNA), digital sensors (e.g. cameras, acoustic devices, GPS tags), satellite remote sensing, and aerial remote sensing (e.g. drones, airplane surveys and weather radar). This expertise was very well represented by the workshop participants:
In the break-out sessions of day 3, the overarching needs for implementing EBV workflows at a European scale where then collected from the workshop participants using Miro boards. The Miro boards were heavily used, and within just one hour, a lot of detailed information for EBV workflows in the context of a specific monitoring technique could be collected:
‘We were absolutely amazed by the massive interest in this workshop and by the huge commitment and fantastic contributions of the workshop participants’, says W. Daniel Kissling, EuropaBON lead of WP4. In a short time and with a lot of expert knowledge, the workshop made huge progress in describing and specifying EBV workflows and in defining the future needs for their implementation and operationalisation. ‘This was a great example for the co-design process and stakeholder involvement that EuropaBON is built on, and a crucial step for developing a European Biodiversity Observation Network that integrates data streams to support policy’, concludes Kissling.
W. Daniel Kissling, University of Amsterdam