ELIXIR expands biodiversity activities with new Community

ELIXIR has launched a new Biodiversity Community to advance the life science data infrastructure’s support for biodiversity research. The Community brings together experts across ELIXIR with external partners to coordinate activities and build on ELIXIR’s existing biodiversity portfolio.

Protecting and restoring biodiversity

Reversing the decline in biodiversity is critical to protect food and water supplies, to provide clean air and natural resources and to reduce the threat of disease transfer between species. Genomic technologies are an important tool in biodiversity research, for example they help understand the current diversity of life, how it interacts and how it responds to changing environmental pressures. 

To maximise its use, the data derived from genomic and molecular studies must be combined across locations and with more traditional biodiversity research resources such as observations, collections and literature. This requires expertise in data stewardship, along with specialised curation, tools and repositories to ensure the data remain useful and available in the long term.

The new Community

The Biodiversity Community is led by Josephine Burgin (EMBL-EBI), Toni Gabaldón (ELIXIR Spain) and Robert Waterhouse (ELIXIR Switzerland). The Community has four broad aims, these are to:

  • Develop standards and promote best practices in biodiversity research
  • Develop tools and workflows that enhance biodiversity data analyses
  • Enhance biodiversity database and infrastructure usability and interoperability
  • Organise biodiversity tools and data training and knowledge transfer events

The Community plans are further elaborated in the recently published Community white paper.

ELIXIR’s biodiversity portfolio

The Community augments ELIXIR’s ongoing services that support biodiversity research. These include repositories to archive DNA and molecular data, tools to find and retrieve relevant data, software and workflows, computing resources and training resources.

In addition, ELIXIR is a partner in two EU-funded projects - Biodiversity Genomics Europe (BGE) and Biodiversity Community Integrated Knowledge Library (BICIKL, pronounced bicycle). 

BICIKL is entering its final year and is building a single knowledge portal, called the Biodiversity Knowledge Hub, to provide access to interlinked and machine-readable data. BGE was recently launched to bring together European experts in DNA barcoding and genome sequencing to use genomics to reverse biodiversity loss. 

About ELIXIR Communities

The ELIXIR Communities Handbook tells you what a Community is, who can join, what the benefits are, and how Communities are structured. It also contains links to key documents related to ELIXIR Communities, and explains the responsibilities and benefits of Community membership.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch with the Communities Coordinator, Katharina Heil (katharina.heil [at] elixir-europe.org).

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Fri 26 May 2023