Who are we?
“The aim of the European Union’s ambitious Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) is to protect more effectively the marine environment across Europe achieving the Good Environmental Status (GES) of the EU’s marine waters by 2020 and to protect the resource base upon which marine-related economic and social activities depend. It is the first EU legislative instrument related to the protection of marine biodiversity, as it contains the explicit regulatory objective that biodiversity is maintained by 2020, as the cornerstone for achieving GES”
According to the MSFD, the environmental status of marine waters is defined by 11 descriptors , and forms a proposed set of 29 associated criteria and 56 indicators. The objective of the Sea Monitoring Virtual Research Community (VRC) is to provide useful and applicable contributions to the evaluation of the variables that define Good Environment Status (GES) according to the EU’s Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), visit website.
Biodiversity is the first descriptor of GES, the second is the presence of non indigenous species while the remaining nine (taking into consideration physical, chemical or geological variables) require proper functioning of the ecosystem, linked to a good state of biodiversity.
Why we need EVER-EST
The Sea Monitoring VRC is providing practical methods, procedures and protocols to support coherent and widely accepted interpretation of Good Environmental Status (GES): Descriptors 1 (Biodiversity), Descriptors 2 (Non indigenous species) and Descriptors 6 (seafloor integrity). Both the criteria and methodological standards already identified by the European Commission, and the activities and projects already in progress, will be taken into account.
The set-up of practical methods to estimate and measure GES descriptors requires a close cooperation between different disciplines including: biology, geology, geophysics, oceanography, earth observation and others. This will lead to the collection of many types of scientific data and observations (e.g. biology related, chemico-physical, etc.) from different inputs and sensors (e.g. remote sensing, on-site buoys, marine stations, administrations, citizen observations, etc.). Furthermore, different communities require support and guidance to be able to effectively interoperate and share best practices, methods, standards and terminologies.
The EVER-EST VRE will provide the Sea Monitoring VRC with tools and services aimed at enhancing their ability to interoperate and share knowledge, experience and methods for GES assessment and monitoring, such as:
- Digital information services for data management, exploitation and preservation (accessibility of heterogeneous data sources including associated documentation);
- e-collaboration services to communicate and share knowledge, ideas, protocols and workflows
- e-learning services to facilitate the use of common workflows for assessing GES indicators;
- e-research services for workflow management, validation and verification, as well as visualization and interactive services.
Research Objects also play a significant role for the Sea Monitoring VRC by providing the technologies necessary to encapsulate, share and re-use scientific knowledge related to the MSFD, including the methodologies and protocols for assessing GES in particular related to D1 (Biodiversity), D2 (Non indigenous species) and D6 (seafloor integrity).