Report of the Biological Data Products Workshop of the European Marine Observation and Data Network (EMODnet)
From 25 till 26 of February 2010, the Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ) organized a workshop on biological data products in Oostende, Belgium. This workshop was organized within the framework of the upcoming European Marine Observation and Data Network, EMODnet, launched by the Maritime Policy of the European Commission. 57 participants from 42 excellent institutes involved in marine biological data collection, marine research and marine policy across Europe attended the workshop. The workshop had three main objectives: (1) to discuss the marine biological data availability and gaps in Europe, (2) to demonstrate the prototype of the EMODnet biological data portal to different user groups and (3) to define a set of derived biological data products relevant for private bodies, public authorities and researchers. A huge amount of reliable European marine biological data and information was presented to the public. These data are available and despite some temporal, spatial and taxonomic limitations, data are already very useful for analyses. There was a consensus amongst workshop participants that the look and feel and functionalities of the EMODnet biological prototype portal, visualizing both data observations and data products, were meeting the requirements. Although the user groups were very diverse, being people from the scientific community, people involved in the European marine policy and coastal and marine practitioners, a number of striking similarities amongst data products were found. In the different user discussion groups, four different sets of marine biological data products were identified as priority biological data products being: (1) species distribution maps and trends, (2) species sensitivity and vulnerability maps, (3) species attributes (functional groups, HAB’s, invasive species, red list or protected species) and (4) biodiversity indices. Within the biological EMODnet preparatory action, a few data analysis workshops will be organized in the near future (2011) to produce some of the data products identified during this workshop. The same community and other relevant stakeholders, identified during the meeting will be involved in this process.