EU funds AQUACOSM-plus in €9.9 million international mesocosm-based research project

1st April 2020
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EU Horizon 2020 funds the AQUACOSM-plus project with €9.9 million. FORSCHUNGSVERBUND BERLIN EV (FVB-IGB) will coordinate, with a consortium of 30 global participants, representing 17 European and non-European countries.

Following in the footsteps of the successful AQUACOSM project, AQUACOSM-plus sets out to advance the European mesosom-based aquatic Research Infrastructure (RI) by incorporating the leading mesocosm facilities into a coherent, interdisciplinary, and interoperable and accessible network.

Blue Lobster has a significant role in the project and will be responsible for the ongoing management and continued design and development of both the AQUACOSM and mesocosm.org websites. mesocosm.org is an open virtual network for aquatic mesocosm facilities worldwide that was designed and developed (led by Blue Lobster) during the AQUACOSM project. A number of outputs from the AQUACOSM-plus project will be deployed onto the mesocosm.org virtual network for uptake by the wider global mesocosm community.

During the AQUACOSM project, Blue Lobster led the design and development of a Bespoke Integrated Online Web Application to manage all Transnational Access (TA) information and application activities within the project. A TA portal served as a central hub for all TA related information, whilst the online application handled TA calls, application forms, and the expert review processes. As part of the AQUACOSM-plus project, the online TA application has undergone extensive development (led by Blue Lobster) to incorporate an interactive TA Project Tracker. The TA Project Tracker will be used to track the status of all approved TA projects from the date that it is formally approved to the date that it is complete, and all data are available. The Project Tracker includes an interactive GIS map, search functionality, and is integrated with the Mesocosm Metadata Catalogue to aid discovery of metadata.

In addition, Blue Lobster will be responsible for the development of a Wiki-based interactive book and setting up an online protocol library where the Transnational Access (TA users) will deposit the protocols they used for collecting the data, including a script library. We will also lead further development of the Mesocosm Metadata Catalogue (developed by Blue Lobster during the AQUACOSM project using GeoNetwork: an open source application to manage spatially referenced resources). The Wiki-based interactive book and the Mesocosm Metadata Catalogue will be integrated into the <a href="http://mesocosm.org/" target="_blank”>mesocosm.org website during the project.

Project Summary:

AQUACOSM-plus will advance the European mesocosm-based aquatic Research Infrastructure (RI) by integrating the leading mesocosm infrastructures into a coherent, interdisciplinary, and interoperable network covering all ecoregions of Europe. AQUACOSM-plus widens the user base by extending Transnational Access (TA) provision (> 13000 person-days), and strengthens the services offered, with 10 new partners. The project will initiate actions to increase competence in mesocosm science in new EU member states (Hungary and Romania), and provide training for young scientists through summer schools covering various disciplines including effective science communication.

AQUACOSM-plus will develop near-real-time Open Data flows and improved metadata, thus promoting Open Mesocosm Science in collaboration with leading EU-supported initiatives in the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) and foster wider sharing of information, knowledge, and technologies across fields and between academia, industry, and policymakers/advisers.

AQUACOSM-plus develops new technological capabilities for mesocosm research, to effectively execute scenario-testing for Climate Change related pressures on aquatic systems from upstream fresh waters to the sea. These developments include mobile large-scale mesocosm approaches, leading-edge imaging technologies, and affordable methods to obtain high-frequency data on community change and greenhouse gas fluxes in mesocosm settings.

AQUACOSM-plus will progress beyond current achievements by actively pursuing collaboration with European environmental Research Infrastructures (RIs) (e.g. LTER, ICOS, DANUBIUS, JERICO-RI) at all project activity levels. Multidisciplinary joint research, combining observational data and modelling approaches with targeted mesocosm experiments, is a key step towards successfully tackling current and future Grand Challenges. This involves shared capacity building via symposia, expert summits, and open workshops, with the aim of co-designing future aquatic research actions and their RI demands.

AQUACOSM-plus (Project No 871081) is funded by the European Commission EU H2020-INFRAIA. The information and views of this website lie entirely with the authors. The European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.

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Image: The LakeLab. Photocredit: The LakeLab, IGB, Germany