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last update 29 August 2013 | version 2.6.2

 

About Fauna Europaea


 

Project information

Contract

Contract

1. Summary

Problems to be solved

The assessment of biodiversity, monitoring changes, sustainable exploitation of biodiversity, and much legislative work depends upon validated knowledge of its components: the taxonomic diversity. The same applies for areas such as human health, agriculture, or freshwater quality. However, the required data are not directly available or in the requested format. Information and expertise on the European animal species is scattered around numerous public and private organisations, they are in different formats and standards, and are of unequal quality.

The Community Biodiversity Strategy of the European Commission recognizes the current incomplete state of knowledge at all levels concerning biodiversity. It asks for establishing networks between European centers of excellence in biodiversity research. Fauna Europaea contributes to the European Community Biodiversity Strategy by supporting one of the main themes in the Strategy: the request to identify and catalogue the components of biodiversity, of which a database on the European terrestrial animal taxonomic diversity is a basic tool for science and policies.

Scientific objectives and approach

The Fauna Europaea project will build a public WWW service on the scientific names (with selected additional data) of the present living multicellular European terrestrial and fresh water animal species. As the project is complicated because of the large number of data of different quality and the widely distributed data sources in Europe, the development of the project depends on the contributions of numerous experts. Central in the workplan is the division of the work in three mutually linked main tasks: (1) data collation, (2) data validation, and (3) data management, including supporting information technology. The data originate from different sources, which implies the establishment of routines for easy and manageable ways to update the data, and the development of a dynamic system that allows for changes through time. Priority setting, product presentation and dissemination plans will be discussed with the end-user forum.

Expected impacts

Policies with respect to biodiversity and fauna-related products will be supported by standardised information and thus facilitate communication about the names of animals, thereby ensuring that a name (and its information attributes) is effectively referring to the same species Europe wide. The use of this thesaurus function is increasingly important for numerous reasons, the political, administrative and economic integration being a foremost factor. Users may also select various subsets of information or combine these with other data for many purposes, as for example for the management of animal species or for the use of correct reference data in biotechnology. The Fauna Europaea project will result in a unique overview of the state of art with respect to our knowledge and help to identify gaps in knowledge and expertise. The results of this analysis will contribute to more focussed European research activities and avoid duplication of efforts that otherwise should not be noticed. By networking of researchers, database custodians and users, an unique effort will result in building and maintaining an informatics infrastructure that will support the collation of harmonised and validated taxonomical data, as well as offer access to these data to a wider user community.

2. Scientific/technical objectives and innovation

Introduction

The Fauna Europaea project will result in a public WWW service on the scientific names and distribution of the present living multicellular European terrestrial and fresh water animal species, with search/retrieval modes available in each of the formal European languages. It also serves as a directory, while CD-ROM and printed versions of the whole data set of parts will exploited to finance continuous updating of the service.

With the non-taxonomic users and its broad international scope in mind, the format and content of the FE list will be straightforward and easily understandable to all these (European) users: hierarchy, arrangement of taxa, design and typography, indexes (or user interface and search engine, for a computerised list) will be user friendly.

Taxonomic, thematic and regional experts warrant quality as a prerequisite for adequate service and support.

The European Community Biodiversity Strategy

Fauna Europaea contributes to the European Community Biodiversity Strategy by supporting one of the main themes in the Strategy: the request to identify and catalogue the components of biodiversity, of which a database on the European taxonomic diversity is a basic tool for science and conservation policies. Fauna Europaea addresses this priority by compiling and validating a catalogue. Such an overview does not exist on a European scale, except for a limited group of species within the European Nature Information System (EUNIS) of the EEA – Topic Centre on Nature Conservation. Partial overviews are scattered around Europe in different scientific institutes, while only some countries are working on national information systems. As such, it provides support for further development of the ClearingHouse Mechanism, the prime vehicle for international information exchange on biodiversity, managed by the European Environment Agency.

Science and policies in regard to biodiversity in Europe depend on a good knowledge of its components. The assessment of biodiversity, monitoring changes, sustainable exploitation of biodiversity, and much legislative work depends upon a validated overview of taxonomic biodiversity, for which Fauna Europaea will provide a major part. End-users of the project results are involved in the Fauna Europaea network.

As the basic data are not stable – depending on scientific developments, and on changing faunal distributions - Fauna Europaea will be developed as a dynamic system that allows for changes through time. The data originate and will come from different sources, which implies the establishment of routines for easy and manageable ways to update the info. The Fauna Europaea project builds on the scientific work of a lot of researchers, which partly already have produced partial information systems on specific taxonomic groups or on regional/national faunas. Some ‘Atlas’ projects also developed detailed distributional and other information sources. All these data sets constitute the basis of Fauna Europaea. The project members are experts and/or custodians of these data. The transfer of data from these different data sources of not related formats requires a dedicated operation management with respect to the organization and a software entry module. With respect to the latter, data gathering and standardization will be facilitated by user-friendly software packages as a tool to simplify data entry and the transfer of existing databases. This procedure will support the process to merge and validate the data. The project makes full use of modern electronic tools, also to promote maximal compatibility with other database systems such as the European Register of Marine Species and Species 2000.

Identification of gaps in knowledge and expertise

The Fauna Europaea project will result in a unique overview of the state of art with respect to our knowledge of the European animal species. Within the time frame and budget for this project, it will not be possible to cover all present living European species. Partly, because not only are all species not known, but also because the data are not always based on accepted taxonomies, or not recently scrutinized, or not in the requested digital format. However, as such it will help to identify gaps in knowledge with respect to:

The objective is finally to report on this analysis and deliver the EU input for regional, national and community research policies.

Innovation

The Fauna Europaea project builds on the scientific work of many scientists, organisations and societies. Their work involved sampling of organisms, description of species, elucidating taxonomies, analysing geographic distributions, listing and databasing the results for various groups and/or regions. The European Topic Centre on Nature Conservation of the European Environment Agency, which already initiated the collection on legally protected species at European level (EC Directives and Bern Convention) in the framework of the EUNIS system, has been supportive by drawing conclusions with respect to standards for collecting and harmonising information at the European level. The project will take these into account. Fauna Europaea will only cover those data that can be obtained and processed within the time frame and the budget of the project. The plan is to process at least 70.000 names, with a target of 100.000 names.

It is the first attempt in Europe to collate comprehensive databases on terrestrial animal species (there has been a printed precedent for the fresh water: Limnofauna Europaea). The result will be complementary and goes beyond the EUNIS system, developed by the European Environment Agency, which focuses on a limited selection of species; those legally protected at European level.

The innovative approach to organise the system is perhaps best perceived when realising that there are probably about 2 to 3 times as much proposed names than there are valid animal species in Europe. The International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN, based in London, UK) issues a Code of Nomenclature that promotes stability and universality by regulating the way scientific names are formed and used. However, it does not provide an umbrella for "authority lists" at a national, regional or global level, as the ICZN does not see its role as infringing on taxonomic opinions on the validity of species. New names proposed under the Zoological Code are compiled annually by the Zoological Record (published by Biosis UK), which provides the source for newly established names, but does not give opinion on the validity of the species denoted by these names. It is precisely the role of this project to provide access to expert opinion on the species of animals living in Europe.

European co-operative project

The project brings experts together from all over Europe. To process the sometimes very different databases in a variety of formats and of unequal quality requires careful logistics, which will be supported by electronic transfer and a help desk. This approach will also help to develop the mechanisms to promote the future maintenance, continuity and updating of Fauna Europaea.

The European scientific community has discussed at various occasions the strategies of how to organise the research activities to produce a validated information system of the components of the taxonomic biodiversity. The challenge was to promote synchronised activities for the animal, plant, and microbial biodiversity (for both terrestrial and marine biota's), in connection to the various national initiatives, the global developments, and related projects such as the EU funded BioCise project. The Linnean Society of London was helpful in supporting the establishment of network activities, which resulted in the development of a Europe-wide structure for a couple of interrelated projects. The Consortium of European Taxonomic Facilities (CETAF), the consortium of the major European natural history institutions and collections, actively supports all these initiatives.

3. Project workplan

3.1 Technical Implementation Plan

Scope of the project

The Fauna Europaea project is complicated because of the large number of data of different quality and the widely distributed data sources in Europe. The development of the project depends on the contributions of numerous experts. The project agreed with experts to contribute their data and expertise without calculating the real costs to assemble the data. Nevertheless, the project will support the delivery of data sets in the requested format by paying a modest sum per delivered species. This implies that the project is restricted to those data that can be collated within its time frame and budget.

The project is further restricted with respect to the taxonomic detail and geographical coverage.

Taxonomic detail

The project is limited to present-living multicellular animals (metazoans). Only officially described and valid species will be listed.

The dataset comprises of:

(1) Valid name (incl. status and reference)

(2) List of unambiguous synonyms

(3) List of common name records (optional)

(4) Latest taxonomic specialist scrutiny

(5) Source database

(6) Optional / Comment field

(7) Family name

(8) References

The classification of the taxa (taxonomic level above the genus level) will only serve as a practical reference, and be kept as simple as possible. In consultation with end-users, the approach of Species 2000 (Biosis) will be studied. Both alphabetical as well phylogenetical organised search modes are to be developed.

Geographical coverage and detail

The project will cover all European terrestrial (and fresh water) animals. This implies that the seashore is one of the geographical limits, but FaunaEur includes all European islands (in the Atlantic Ocean also Canary Islands and Madeira; in the Mediterranean up to Cyprus). To the East, the limit is the Ural, thus restricted to biogeographic ‘minimal Europe’. Turkey, except European Turkey, is not a part of the project.

The information about the geographical distribution of species (optional) will at least be on country level (political units), but only if available and in the correct format. The same holds for data on temporal change, as these data only exist for a limited number of species, and are often restricted to a region or not validated. However, if possible, these data will be added.

Structure and methodology of the workplan

Central in the workplan is the division of the work in three main mutually linked activities by the three contractors:

Priority setting and product presentation will be discussed with the end-user forum.

The planning and management of the project is organised in the following clusters of workpackages:

Co-ordination

1. Project management and co-ordination

2. Standards, protocols, scope, limits

3. End-user forum

Data structure

4. Design of taxonomic framework and hierarchy

5. Defining and coding of geographical regions

6. Taxonomic co-ordination

Data collation

7. Tools for data transfer

8. Collation of taxonomic groups

9. Help desk

Data processing

10. Verification and quality control

11. IT database and service management

Production

12. Identification of gaps in data and knowledge, priorities for research

13. Linkages to other registers

14. Publishing the Fauna Europaea register on the WWW

15. Data presentation

16. Dissemination, copyrights and exploitation plans (Technology Implementation Plan)

The success of the project is very much dependent of the co-operation of the European experts involved. The relevant experts have been carefully identified. Nevertheless, as scientific views may differ between the experts, the organisation of the project separates the collation of data from the validation. Finally, Fauna Europaea will reflect the actual level of taxonomic knowledge. The exploitation plan will describe the process of future updating.

4. Contribution to objectives of programme/call

Fauna Europaea contributes to "Support for Research Infrastructures". Presently the databases and the expertise on the European animal species are scattered around numerous public and private organisations, they are in different formats and standards, and are of unequal quality. Some databases are restricted to a single taxonomic group, others only to country or other geographic level. Older different taxonomies have resulted in a complex situation with respect to the overview of the European animal species. The project will address the problem by encouraging the transnational use of excisting public and private databases, improving their exploitation, and by covering priority needs.

This project will bring together the European experts with authority in each major taxonomic group. By networking of researchers, database custodians and users, an unique effort will result in building and maintaining an informatics infrastructure that will support the collation of harmonized and validated taxonomical data, as well as offer access to these data to a wider user community. This will also help in identifying gaps in expertise and knowledge in taxonomy and in database infrastructure. A report on the results of this analysis will contribute to more focussed research activities and avoid duplication of efforts that otherwise should not be noticed.

Community interest is supported as the Fauna Europaea project will contribute to the EU commitments with respect to the Convention on Biological Diversity, especially with regard to the obligation to document the European diversity. It thus also contributes to the Clearing House Mechanism, and provides a directory to the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) by its cooperation with the Species 2000 initiative. As such, it will promote the competitive European position by developing innovative IT tools for data collation, search and retrieval.

The plannned activities, in parallel with the related projects on plant and marine species, will offer a stimulus for European research in taxonomy and biodiversity. The Fauna Europaea network brings together a wide research community, and its work will promote further scientific initiatives.

5. Community added value and contributions to EU policies

The Community Biodiversity Strategy of the European Commission provides the framework for developing Community policies and instruments in order to comply with the Convention on Biological Diversity. The strategy recognises the current incomplete state of knowledge at all levels concerning biodiversity, which is a contraint on the successful implementation of the Convention. It asks for establishing networks between European centres of excellence in biodiversity research. One of the main themes in the Strategy is the intended support for studies to identify and catalogue the components of biodiversity, of which a database on the European taxonomic diversity is a basic tool for science and conservation policies. Fauna Europaea addresses this priority by compiling (University of Copenhagen – Zoological Museum), validating a catalogue for the terrestrial and fresh water animal species (Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle), and presenting the catalogue in an advanced WWW environment (University of Amsterdam – Zoological Museum). Such an overview does not exist at an European scale, except for a limited group of species within the EUNIS system of the EEA Topic Centre on Nature Conservation.

Partial overviews are scattered around Europe in different scientific institutes, while only some countries are working on national information systems. As such, it provides support for further development of the Clearing House Mechanism, the prime vehicle for international information exchange on biodiversity, managed by the European Environment Agency.

Science and policies regarding to biodiversity in Europe depend on a good knowledge of its components. The assessment of biodiversity, monitoring changes, sustainable exploitation of biodiversity, and much legislative work depends upon a validated overview of taxonomic biodiversity. However, not all data are in a simple way available and in the requested format. By bringing together the community of experts, the project will promote the collation of databases of different formats, but also help to identify gaps in knowledge with respect to data on taxonomic groups (not well studied taxa or discutable taxonomies), geographic distributions (lacking or inadequate sampling), and with respect to not available expertise / experts. A report on this analysis will deliver the EU input for regional, national and community research policies.

6. Contibution to community social objectives

Quality of Life, Health and Safety of the Citizens

In various aspects of the quality of life of Europeans, it is essential to have access to a catalogue of the correct names of animal species. Health and safety depend on this correct information. The users of Fauna Europaea will apply the information source to their fauna-related products to standardize and thus facilitate communication about the names of animals, thereby ensuring that, based on available expertise, a name is effectively referring to the same species Europe wide. The use of thesauri in European cross border communication, and the Fauna Europaea service will indeed function as a thesaurus, is becoming increasingly important for numerous reasons, the political, administrative and economic integration being a foremost factor. Apart from the thesaurus function, the users will also, through the addition of straightforward country level information about the distribution of species, know which countries will be concerned with the management of these species in the widest possible sense, for whatever purpose.

Environment and Natural Resources

Community interest is supported as the Fauna Europaea project will contribute to the EU commitments with respect to the Convention on Biological Diversity, especially with regard to the obligation to document the European diversity. It thus also contributes to the Clearing House Mechanism, and provides a directory to the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) by its cooperation with the Species 2000 initiative. As such, it will promote the competitive European position by developing innovative IT tools for data collation, search and retrieval.

Employment, Education, Training and Working Conditions

The result of the Fauna Europaea project also will have a considerable effect on expert taxonomic users. The peers of the compilers/authors/contributors of Fauna Europaea (and their successors during the next century) will critically review the list and its sources, and attempt to improve its quality through additional taxonomic, nomenclatural and faunistic research. Fauna Europaea will thus over time continue to gain in quality and usefulness -- certainly as long as the end user groups mentioned are indeed kept in mind.

The project contributes to Community social objectives, as the following end user groups will benefit from Fauna Europaea:

  • government law-making agencies on various administrative levels
  • environmental authorities on various administrative levels
  • public and private water, air and soil management agencies
  • the conservation community
  • customs and other law-enforcing agencies - governmental statistics agencies
  • the agricultural, forestry, fisheries and ecotourism industries
  • the plant protection, veterinary, and human health services
  • the scientific non-expert (non-taxonomic) community (particularly the ecologists)
  • biodiversity collection and information management agencies (eg museums, herbariums, information centres)
  • popular scientific publishing community (encyclopaedias, faunal field guides, handbooks etc) - the teaching community (from primary school level to universities)

7. Economic development and s&t prospects

Exploitation and Dissemination of Results, IPR

Fauna Europaea is the result of European wide cooperation of experts and will in future stay dependent on these experts. The continuity and updating of Fauna Europaea will be organized in a structure that will guarantee the direct involvement of the experts. In liaison with the related projects on the marine and the plant organisms it is considered to establish a society for the management of biodiversity data, of which the members will be the contributing experts. This society will go in contract with hosting organisations to agree on (financial) mechanisms to keep Fauna Europaea updated, but also to exploit the information resources. The experts will thus keep control on the quality and updating of the data. For parts of the data it will be necessary to make copyrights agreements with owners of the data. The project will promote the involve of these owners in the management of the Fauna Europaea database. This database is an asset that will be exploited via several ways of commercial dissemination. However, the basic data will be in the public domain via the Internet. Commercial dissemination will focus on value added products or release of subsets of the data on CD-ROM or in print. A dissemination and use plan for the consortium as a whole and for the three contractors will be detailed at the end of the project.

Community interest is supported as the Fauna Europaea project will contribute to the EU commitments with respect to the Convention on Biological Diversity, especially with regard to the obligation to document the European diversity. It thus also contributes to the Clearing House Mechanism, and provides a directory to the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) by its cooperation with the Species 2000 initiative.

In relation to the views in this paragraph, the Consortium will prepare a Technology Implementation Plan. Before the end of the project such a plan will be finished, indicating all potential foreground rights and intentions for use and dissemination of the results, including a time table. A first version of this report will be presented in the mid term report of the project.

Economic Growth

As Fauna Europaea will be a new and innovative product, it will support and promote various developments in science and applications. The economic exploitation of the Fauna Europaea database will be directed at establishing contracts in relation to these developments, and as such contribute to the continuity of the database.

Scientific and Technological Prospects

This plan, including reports on the present state of knowledge and expertise and the identification of gaps, will address the scientific and technological prospects of the Fauna Europaea project. A draft version of this plan will be presented in due course of the project.

8. The consortium

Overview of the Consortium

The three principal contractors (partners 1-3) will take responsibility for the main complementory clusters of tasks. These have been developed in preparatory meetings of a committee, established by the Linnean Society of London, (network member).

The University of Amsterdam (Zoological Museum Amsterdam) is in charge of the overall coordination and management, which includes the application of software and database tools to support these tasks. As coordinator, it will keep control over the project progress, and will bring decisions about priorities and choices into discussion. The coordinator will also build the Fauna Europaea main database, and develop mechanisms for dissemination and exploitation.

More specific, the University of Amsterdam is in charge of the workpackages 1, 2, 3, 7, 9, 11, 13, 14, 15, and 16, and contributes to the workpackages 6, 8, and 12.

Associated members are: (see explanation of numbers in 8.2)

The University of Copenhagen (Zoological Museum) will take care of the complicated task to collate the data for Fauna Europaea and merge these in integrated datasets. Cross checking of taxon based data files with country based data, and the inclusion of derived data (synonyms, conservation status), requires intensive contacts with experts throughout Europe, supported by the involvement of most network members.

More specific, the University of Copenhagen is in charge of the workpackages 4, 6, and 8, and contributes to the workpackages 1, 2, 3, 7, 9, 11, 12, and 13.

Associated members are: (see explanation of numbers in 8.2)

The Musée National d’Histoire Naturelle in Paris decides on the quality of the data sets for publication. It will assign attributes to these sets in the main database, which will be a basis for selection in different kinds of dissemination. This role contributes to the task to draw a report on identified gaps in knowledge and expertise, including recommendations to tackle these in Europe.

More specific, the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle is in charge of the workpackages 5, 10, and 12, and contributes to the workpackages 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 11, 13, 15, and 16.

Associated members are: (see explanation of numbers in 8.2)

The members in the network are of three kinds:

End-users

A number of members (partners 4 — 8) represent different end-users in science and society. These members will assist in defining the outline of the final product and the ways to disseminate the results. These members are linked to the contractor University of Amsterdam.

The European Environment Agency (EEA)will be invited by the Fauna Europaea project as consultant to advice about its work.

Taxonomic experts

Most other members are involved by providing taxonomic expertise and information. They will partly act as group coordinators that will keep contact with the very large number of experts throughout Europe to capture data files on parts of the various taxonomic groups. Experts may be employed by the member institutes, but may also come from other institutes. The member institutes will work close with the University of Copenhagen (data collation) and the Musée National d’Histoire Naturelle (validation of data).

Support in information technology

Some members (7 — 9) will also assist in advise and support in information technology and the linkages to related database projects. These members are linked to the contractor University of Amsterdam.

Description of the participants


COORDINATOR (PRINCIPAL CONTRACTOR)

Universiteit van Amsterdam (Zoological Museum Amsterdam) — The Netherlands

The University of Amsterdam is the coordinator of the National Research School of Biodiversity in the Netherlands, and of the Dutch initiatives with respect to the Global Biodiversity Information Facility. Its institute Zoological Museum Amsterdam (ZMA) manages a zoological collection as a large scale research facility. The collection covers various taxonomic groups with strenghts in the European, South-east Asian and Latin American regions, and in the marine environment. The research programme is directed at studies on speciation, evolution, biogeography and biodiversity assessment. The application of information technology is central to the programme.

The University of Amsterdam also manages large high performance computing facilities, and one of the strongest Internet nodes of Europe. The informatics (research) infrastructure supports the tasks of the IT work packages of this project.


PRINCIPAL CONTRACTORS

University of Copenhagen (Zoological Museum) - Denmark

The Zoological Museum, University of Copenhagen (ZMUC), houses very large, global collections of all kinds of preserved animals. Each of the 17 collection curators is at the same time a researcher specializing in the global fauna of a particular animal group. The research at ZMUC is strongly concentrated around animal systematics and zoogeography, with phylogeny, evolutionary biology and biodiversity as important additional keywords. ZMUC is a member of CETAF and in general has a very well-developed international network of connections with other museums. Further information on ZMUC's homepage: http://www.aki.ku.dk/zmuc/zmuc.htm.


Musée National d’Histoire Naturelle — Paris - France

The Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle (M.N.H.M.)is the French organism of reference for systematics. It keeps and manages the national natural history collections, which contains for its biological components more than 80 million specimens covering all groups of plants and animals both recent and extinct. The Institut de Systematique, federates 11 thematic laboratories devoted to research programs in biological systematics and phylogeny. The other units, focusing on ecology and environmental studies, are part of the "Institut d'Ecologie et de Gestion de la Biodiversité", which includes the "Service du Patrimoine Naturel", the national biological survey.

At present the M.N.H.N. is conducting research on all major groups of organisms at various integration levels, a number of researchers being experts in their field (80). Data control and validation will be the M.N.H.N. first task within this project given its technical and scientific skills developed in establishing check-lists (CLEMAM), databases of taxonomic objects (GICIM, SONNERAT, etc.) and classical taxonomic works.

The MNHM is also the leader institution of the Consortium "European Centre on Nature Conservation" of the European Environment Agency.


MEMBERS

The Linnean Society of London — UK

The Linnean Society of London is a global society for the professionals in biology, epecially in biodiversity studies. The efforts of the society to promote the scientific work for the implementation of registers of the European plant and animal species, have been essential for these developments. The Society established and supported a committee for the preparation of the Fauna Europaea project, that resulted in this EU application.

Linked to contractor UVA.


The University of Reading Species 2000

The Centre for Plant Diversity and Systematics at the University of Reading is one of the three UK centres established under the NERC Taxonomy Initiative, and with a permanent staff of 7 academics and 4 technical support. It has specialised advanced taxonomic research laboratories in a) Floristics (herbarium), b) Biodiversity Informatics and c) Molecular Systematics.

The Species 2000 Secretariat is at the Centre for Plant Diversity & Systematics in the University of Reading, UK, and operated by Prof. Frank Bisby, chair of the Species 2000 Team. It has a start-up staff, presently funded by the University and BBSRC, and is itself the subject of a Framework 5 Proposal. Species 2000 is creating a Catalogue of Life by federating many taxonomic databases, each providing the global synonymised catalogue for one major group of organisms: Legumes, Fish, Geometrid Moths etc. The Catalogue of Life will be available both at the Web site and as a CD-ROM. It will be used both as a resource in its own right, and as the index for an Internet linking system, for instance interlinking the European regional taxonomic systems of Fauna Europaea, the European Register of Marine Organisms, and the Euro+Med PlantBase.

Linked to contractor UvA.


Ecological Consultancy Services Ltd (EcoServe) — Dublin — Ireland

EcoServe routinely conducts ecological surveys for industry, local authorities, and government agencies. It specialises in marine and freshwater biodiversity, but also works with associates on terrestrial ecology. The company analysed marine sublittoral communities around Ireland for the Celtic Seas Quality Status Report for OSPARCOM, is writing a framework for a Marine Biodiversity Action Plan for Ireland, and a 'Review of marine nature conservation initiatives' for the Bern Convention Council of Europe. The company is an end-user of the project results and has developed close links with other end-users. EcoServe manages web sites for 2 EU projects and several other projects. It co-ordinates 2 EU Concerted Action projects, including the European Register of Marine Species. It runs several e-mail list servers, including the European Marine Research Information Network in Biodiversity. EcoServe is an SME, has 5 scientific staff, all environmental sciences or marine ecology graduates.

Linked to contractor UVA.


Forschungsinstitut für Umwelt und Gesundheit (GSF) — Neuberberg — Germany

Institute of Soil Ecology

The Institute assembles a wide variety of profound knowledge on the soil as habitat for living organisms. The scientists have high expertise in manyfold soil ecological fields and techniques such as soil ecology (microbiology including a large number of molecular techniques, zoology, food web dynamics with special respect to nutrient turnover), soil science, transport and transformation of contaminants in soils, modelling of matter transport and nutrient dynamics).

Linked to contractor UVA.


The Expert center for Taxonomic Identification (ETI) — Amsterdam — The Netherlands

ETI is a non-governmental organization (NGO) in operational relations with UNESCO. It has branches in Japan, Chile, Uruguay, Russia and England. This international center was set up in 1990 with the aim to develop innovative ICT tools specifically for biodiversity documentation and species identification (Linnaeus II Software and derivatives), to promote international collaboration and networking between specialists in the field of biodiversity studies (human resouce management, data mining), and to create a mechanism for worldwide dissemination of electronic species identification guides and biodiversity information systems. ETI provides the science community with a production facility of CD-ROM based publications biodiversity expert systems and a gateway for on-line applications to be released on the Internet. The basic taxonomic data of ETI’s central database are provided to the Species 2000 name registry.

Linked to contractor UVA.


University of Padova — Italy

Research carried on at the Biology Department of the University of Padova covers a very broad range of pure and applied biological disciplines, from molecular biology, genetics and biotechnology to systematics, faunistics (and floristics) and ecology. Since more than ten years, the office of the Fauna d’Italia project (developed by the Italian Zoological Society (UZI) and the Italian Academy of Entomology) has been associated with this Department. Within this project, a series of monographs with identification keys and detailed distributional data are produced, each volume devoted to the species of a selected animal group as ascertained for the fauna of Italy and neighbouring countires. A comprehensive Checklist of the species of Italian fauna has also been produced: this cooperative effort, in which 272 specialists were involved, resulted in the first complete inventory of the animal species known form a whole country, with over 57 000 species listed.

Linked to contractor MNHN.


Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales — Madrid — Spain

The Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales (MNCN) is the Spanish Institution of reference for animal biodiversity since it coordinates the FAUNA IBERICA project. It keeps and manages the national natural history collections covering all groups of animals both extant and fossils with a wide representation (historical collections and important recently collected materials) of the Iberian fauna, the richest of the European Community. The Department of Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology conducts research on systematics, phylogeny, biogeography, speciation, reproductive biology, biodiversity patterns, conservation biology and biodiversity assessment. The other units are focused on evolutionary ecology, paleontology, geology and vulcanology. The MNCN maintains a highly developed web site including a Directory of Spanish Taxonomists (DIRTAX) and relevant information on Iberian biodiversity in its Fauna Ibérica section. Its expertise in the management of the Fauna Iberica project, data collation and networking of experts will be connected with the tasks of the Fauna Europaea project.

Linked to contractor MNHN.


National and Kapodistrian University of Athens — Greece

Zoological Museum

The Zoological Museum of the University of Athens is the oldest zoological institution in Greece dating from the middle of the 19th century. It has large collections of animals and animal parts from Greece and the Balkans. The staff of the Museum has experience in dealing with biogeographical problems (various studies on the biogeography of mainland Greece and the Aegean islands), with endemism (endemism of terrestrial gastropods, terrestrial isopods, ants, beetles of Greece), with conservation problems (conservation biology of monk seals, raptors, reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates), with data collation (Greek Fauna Documentation Centre, Register of Marine Species, data base on the fauna of Greece) and with computer applications in Biogeography.

Linked to contractor MNHN.


Norwegian University of Science and Technology — Trondheim — Norway

Institute of Natural History

The institute established an overview of the Norwegian taxonomic biodiversity. This regional expertise on the Nordic biodiversity is vital for the project.

Linked to contractor ZMUC.


Naturhistorisches Museum Wien — Austria

The Naturhistorisches Museum in Vienna is the main expert institute and custodian of biological collections in Austria. Its scientists are specialists in various taxonomic groups.

Linked to contractor ZMUC.


Institut Royal des Sciences Naturelles de Belgique — Brussels — Belgium

Département d'Entomologie

Institut Royal des Sciences Naturelles is the central Belgium institute for natural history collections. Its large collections provide the basis for expertise on variuous taxonomic groups.

Linked to contractor ZMUC.


Forschungsinstitut und Naturmuseum Senckenberg — Frankfurt a M. — Germany

One of the major Natural History Museums in Germany and Europe. Main research area is the biodiversity of continental, marine, and fossil systems. The organisation includes departments of zoology, marine taxonomy working group, botany incl. paleobotany, paleozoology, messel, paleoanthropology, marine sciences within branches at Frankfurt (main institute), Bieber, Messel, Wilhelmshaven, Hamburg, Bremerhaven, List/Sylt. Fieldwork is carried out in the tropics as well as in central Europe. The scientific staff includes 72 individuals. About 60 ph. D.-students.

Linked to contractor ZMUC.


Humboldt University at Berlin - Germany

Museum für Naturkunde

The Museum für Naturkunde is the largest museum of Natural History in Germany. It houses ca. 25 Mio objects (zoological, paleontological, mineralogical). In the zoological collections, the majority are the insects (ca. 15 Mio., 6 of which are beetles). The strength of our collections is its vast holding of types, especially in the Coleoptera, Diptera, and Lepidoptera (e.g., Staudinger collection). The museum belongs to Humboldt-University, the research departments are university institutes, i.e. we also provide teaching to university students.

Linked to contractor ZMUC.


Staatliches Museum für Naturkunde — Stuttgart — Germany

This State Museum of Natural History is involved in various activities related to biosystematics and biological informatics at the national level. The museum will take responsibility for major parts of the taxonomic group of terrestrial Isopoda.

Linked to contractor ZMUC.


University of Erlangen — Nürnberg — Germany

The university will act as the group coordinator of the complex group of Orthopteroid orders.

Linked to contractor ZMUC.


Universidad de Salamanca - Spain

Unidad de Zoologia

The Unidad will contribute to collating the large taxonomic group of Hymenoptera.

Linked to contractor ZMUC.


Université Paul Sabatier — Toulouse - France

The Laboratoire de Zoologie will take leadership in collating the data in the taxonomic group of Entognathan Hexapoda. The Laboratoire d’hydrobiologie is in charge of the taxonomic group Ephemeroptera.

Linked to contractor ZMUC.


L’Université de Rennes 1 — France

Laboratoire de Parasitologie, Faculté de Medicine

The Laboratoire de Parasitologie will provide the group coordination to compile the data in the taxonomic group Siphonaptera.

Linked to contractor ZMUC.


University of Florence — Firenze — Italy

The Department of Animal Biology and Genetics will contribute to the collation of data for Decapoda.

Linked to contractor ZMUC.


Universitá di Roma "La Sapienza" - Italy

The university contributes to capture the data for the very large group of Coleoptera.

Linked to contractor ZMUC.


Universitá della Tuscia — Italy

The university is charge of the taxonomic group of Plecoptera.

Linked to contractor ZMUC.


Stichting National Museum of Natural History - Leiden - The Netherlands

Having been assigned this task since its inception in 1820 the Leiden museum has always maintained complete species registers of the Dutch fauna, and continues to do so. Its publications include major series on the fauna of The Netherlands and adjacent regions, including the new book series Nederlandse Fauna and the journal Nederlandse Faunistische Mededelingen. There are close connections with the European Invertebrate Survey, including the Dutch branch of its expert network.

Linked to contractor ZMUC.


Wageningen Agricultural University - The Netherlands

The Wageningen Agricultural University mission is to support agriculture with knowledge. As a result its expertise in nematology is world famous.

Linked to contractor ZMUC.


Plantenziektenkundige Dienst — Wageningen — The Netherlands

The Plantenziektenkundige Dienst is in charge of the control of plant deseases in the Netherlands. Contributing specialism is in the large group of Hemiptera.

Linked to contractor ZMUC.


Instituto de Investigacào Cientifica Tropical — Lisboa - Portugal

Centro de Zooloia, I.I.C.T.

The institute will act as coordinator to collate the data for the Apterygote insects.

Linked to contractor ZMUC.


University of the Azores — Horta - Portugal

IMAR — Instituto do Mar

The institute has contacts will all regional experts and the data for the regional biodiversity of Madeira, the Azores and the Canaries.

Linked to contractor MNHN.


Naturhistoriska riksmuseet — Stockholm - Sweden

Basic biological research at the Swedish Museum of Natural History concentrates on the origins of animals and plants, their systematics, and their distribution in time and space. Studies of tropical biodiversity are emphasized, as well as the Swedish flora and fauna.

>Within the area of palaeontology, research is conducted in both palaeozoology and palaeobotany, including studies of the origin and development of land plants.

Geological research at the Museum is concerned with systematizing the structural and chemical properties of minerals. At the Laboratory for Isotope Geology, the development of the earth's crust is studied by determining the age of rocks and minerals.

Linked to contractor ZMUC.


The Natural History Museum — London — United Kingdom

The Natural History Museum (NHM) is one of the few largsts natural history institutions in the world. Its very rich collections are curated by specilist in various groups, that support the research programme of the NHM.

The Department of Zoology is the largest and most diverse in the Museum and holds about 27 million specimens. The 121 scientists in the Department maintain and enhance the collections to study how animals have evolved and how different animal groups are related. The results have vital relevance to ecology, conservation and human health issues worldwide. Recently developed research techniques, such as DNA sequencing, are adding new dimensions to the traditional science of the Department.

Linked to contractor ZMUC.


University of Greenwich — United Kingdom

The university is involved in the NODE (Nonmarine Ostracod Distribution in Europe) GIS database, established as part of a previous EU-funded project and now develops its analytical applications. The Fauna Europaea project will clearly benefit from "clustering " with the DynamO project.

Linked to contractor ZMUC.


Societa' Romana di Scienze Natural

Societa' Romana di Scienze Natural contributes with ssential expertise on Scorpiones.

Linked to contractor ZMUC.

9. Project administration

Project Management

SCOPE AND ORGANISATION

The management of the Fauna Europaea project within the the limits of budget and time, requires the establishment of an organisation with clear lines of authority and responsibility, and avoiding beaurocracy. For this reason the project is organized as a thematic network with three principal coordinators that each are responsible for a cluster of interrelated workpackages. The members contribute to one or more of these workpackages, coordinated and managed by the respective principal contractors. The coordinating institute, in charge of the whole project, will select a Steering Committee to support the management of the project. The composition of the Steering Committee will be a subject of discussion at the first general meeting of the Fauna Europaea project. The projects bureau, in charge of the day to day overall management of the project, will report to the Steering Committee as representative of the whole network.

The three principal contractors will discuss in regular meetings with the Steering Committee the overall organisation and progress of the project with respect to:

Work programme

results of the coordinators

 

expenditures

 

methods of dissemination

Scope of project

taxonomic framework

 

taxonomic detail

 

geographic coverage and presentation


Each of the principal contractors will keep contact with the members to keep control over:

Gathering of the data

data gathering and timely delivery of a specific group

 

contacts with the network coordinators

 

deliverage according to the general lay out

 

assigning specialists for specific groups

Transfer of data

software entry modules

 

help desk

 

checking timely deliverage

Validation

check according to protocol

 

reviews of delivered data bases

 

updating of data bases

Technical database managent

management of the databases in various stages of validation

 

integration of subsets of database

 

maintenance of hardware and software

 

providing information via the Internet

Tuning to users needs and dissemination

organisation of the user forum

 

contracts for different formats of dissemination

 

Contacts with related projects

Facility management

finance

 

administration


DECISION MAKING STRUCTURES

The workpackages are allocated to each of the partners. Apart from the general management and coordination of the project, the work is organized into four fields, for which each principal contractor has its responsibility with respect to decision making.


- collation of the data

University of Copenhagen — Zoological Museum

- validation and gap analysis

Musée National d’Histoire Naturelle

- database management

University of Amsterdam — Zoological Museum

- user forum

University of Amsterdam — Zoological Museum


The decision making will be supported by ad hoc advisory teams, drawn from the members. The establishment and compisition of ad hoc advisory teams depends on identified specific problems that need consideration and advice from an ad hoc group.

The steering committee, the principal contractors and the advory teams, will meet yearly once or twice to discuss the project progress and any emerging general problems. The coordinator will take the final decisions of general kind.

Two meetings of all members will be organised, one to overview the instructions for data capture, and a second one to discuss the policy with respect to apparent gaps in data and knowledge.


COMMUNICATION FLOWS

The project will give much attention to communication with its members. Apart from the scheduled meetings, the project makes full use of communication via the internet. An example is the help desk to assist members and their experts in data capture and transmission. Via Internet and e-mail messages, the principal contractors will keep everyone informed about the progress of the project, and about the interaction with the end-users forum. One of the coordinators project staff members is responsible for drawing up regular news letters. Apart from the general information flows, the communication on specific tasks with all members is being managed by each of the principal contractors to which the members are attached. Management of communication is assisted by precise work instructions, specifications of reports (such as databases), and feed back mechanisms.

As the project will collate datasets from different sources and also validate these, one may expect that controversial opinions will emerge. These will be subject to discussion in the project Web pages, such as to assist the final decision making by the principal contractors.


REPORTING TO THE COMMISSION

Reports to supply will be six-monthly management reports, annual scientific and technical reports, and a final report. Cost statements will be submitted together with the annual reports.

Six- monthly management reports

Structured according to the tasks in the Description of Work, include:

– A summary of all the activities conducted in the preceding period

– A review of progress in respect to details in the Description of Work. For each task will be indicated the actual state of advancement with respect to the timing foreseen in the Description of Work

– Plans for the following 12 months detailed on the Work Package level including, if necessary, a proposal for adjustments

– An updated listing of publications submitted and published and presentations of project results made on scientific meetings. Publications must acknowledge the funding by the Commission.

– A list of personnel paid partially or fully from project funds will be included for each partner and updated regularly.

– Any other matter relevant to the assessment of the progress of the project.

Annual scientific and technical reports

The co-ordinator has the responsibility for submitting a consolidated report on the project. Scientific reports follow the same layout of work packages as the Description of Work.

A final report set including

– a publishable synthesis of the scientific results

– an abstract for electronic dissemination, which shows the objectives and technical results of the project (normally the same as the publishable synthesis of the scientific results)

– an extended abstract for the general public and decision makers (avoiding as far as possible very technical terminology)

– a final scientific and technical report.

– a CD-ROM of the whole data set.

– a short report on the dissemination and exploitation of results, including the Technology Implementation Plan.

– 1 reprint of all publications of the project

10. List of references and related projects

References

Not applicable


Related projects

This projects will attempt to establish strategic links to several other projects working on biodiversity research under the 5th Framework Programme, including ENHSIN, and several projects funded under the 4th Framework Programme, including ERMS.

The Consortium of European Taxonomic Facilities (CETAF), the consortium of the major European natural history institutions and collections, actively supports all these initiatives.


Project Cluster Participation

This project participates in a cluster of projects working on biodiversity research. The aim of the cluster is to determine and promote strategic approaches to biodiversity assessment and management in Europe. Other members of the cluster are: Biodiversity Assessment, BIOMAN, BIOSTRESS, CASCADE, EURO+MED, Fauna Europea, FOSSILVA, METABIRD, MIDI-CHIP, PLANT DISPERSAL, and TRANSPLANT.

The cluster will help to co-ordinate and to provide common purpose to an important collective European effort to develop biodiversity research; provide an opportunity to enrich each project by an exchange of ideas; and, where appropriate, increase the effectiveness of each proposal through joint field work or other activities. The cluster may later be extended to include other projects, in particular projects arising from future calls for proposals related to biodiversity.


Cluster activities

– Two cluster meetings will take place involving the co-ordinators, but including other partners where appropriate. The exact dates of the meetings will be fixed by mutual consent. The first will take place within a few months of the start of the projects and the second about 18 months or 2 years after the start of the projects.

– The cluster will prepare a leaflet to announce the creation of the cluster, to be produced shortly after the first cluster meeting.

– The cluster will prepare a newsletter that will contain information on the activities of the projects and other pertinent news.

– The cluster will produce a brochure that summarises the main findings of the projects and strategic recommendations for biodiversity research in the future. This brochure will be produced before half of the projects have submitted their final reports.

– Participants in the cluster will exchange views on quality assurance and data management practices, and if possible, generate guidelines or recommendations on these issues.

– Where only one or two participants in the cluster attend international or national conferences of interest to other members of the cluster, those participants will brief the other members of the cluster on any significant papers delivered;

– The cluster will establish a web page allowing the partners of the projects in the cluster to advertise their activities and announce results, meetings, and publications.

– Occasionally the Commission may require an answer to a policy-relevant question related to biodiversity. The cluster will provide a reasoned, rapid response to such questions, provided that such questions fall within the competence of the cluster and do not require additional research.


Acronyms

BioCISE Biological Collections Information Service Europe

BIOMAN Biodiversity and Human impact in shallow lakes

BIOSTRESS Biodiversity in Herbaceous Semi-Natural Ecosystems under Stress by Global Change Components

CASCADE Securing gene conservation, adaptive breeding potential and utilisation of a model multipurpose tree species (Castanea sativa Mill.) in a dynamic environment

CETAF Consortium of European Taxonomic Facilities

CLEMAM Check List of European Marine Mollusca

DIRTAX Directory of Taxonomists

EC European Commission

ENHSIN European Natural History Specimen Information Service

ERMS European Register of Marine Species

EEA European Environment Agengy

ETI Expert center for Taxonomic Identification

EUNIS European Nature Information System

EURO+MED European and Mediterranean Plant Database

FOSSILVA Dynamics of forest trees biodiversity: linking genetic, palaeogenetic and plant historical approaches

GBIF Global Biodiversity Information Network

GIS Geographic Information System

ICZN International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature

ICT Information and Communication Technology

IT Information Technology

METABIRD Viability of bird metapopulations

MIDI-CHIP Design and testing of DNA microarrays to monitor microbial diversity with adequate biodiversity indexes, using cyanobacteria in freshwater as a model system

MNCH Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales (Madrid)

MNHN Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle (Paris)

NERC National Environment Research Council (UK)

NGO Non Governmental Organisation

NHM The Natural History Museum (London)

NODE Nonmarine Ostracod Distribution in Europe

SME Small Medium sized Enterprise

TRANSPLANT Extinction risks and the re-introduction of plant species in a fragmented Europe

UNESCO United Nations Educational and Scientific and Cultural Organisation

UZI Italian Zoological Society

WP Work Package

WWW World Wide Web

ZMA Zoological Museum Amsterdam

ZMUC Zoological Museum, University of Amsterdam

 

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Fauna Europaea was supported by the European Commission under the Fifth Framework Programme
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