[ Overview ][ Objectives ][ Spreading Of Excellence ][ Partners ][ Associated Partners ][ Committees ][ Project Management ][ Data Management ][ Taxonomic Clearing System ][ Quality Assurance ][ Training ] [ Outreach ][ SMEs ][ Theme 1 Global Patterns ][ Theme 2 Ecosystem Functioning ][ Theme 3 Socio-economics ]
Encourage the development of a group ethos & create a formal
MarBEF will bring together the presently dispersed units of
scientific excellence in Europe and will create a virtual European
centre of excellence in marine biodiversity and ecosystem functioning.
The mix of outstanding and committed individuals is the core ingredient
of any centre of excellence and the large scale of MarBEF will address
one of the biggest questions in marine biology - namely that of
elucidating the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem
In a phased manner, we will establish the European Centre for the
Study of Marine Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning (EMBEF) as a
Europe-wide, virtual institution. Its secretariat will initially be
coordinated from Yerseke but all network members will be founder
partners and will be asked to include the EMBEF component as part of
their affiliation on all papers published under the banner of MarBEF.
EMBEF is conceived as a method of executing MarBEF identified activities
in the long term, beyond the duration of MarBEF. Its main content will
initially be training courses and workshops, but it will move into
publication as a second step.
The creation of EMBEF must assure the prominent and lasting place of
marine biodiversity research in Europe and in the world so that the link
to global initiatives such as the Census of Marine Life and DIVERSITAS
can be established at the European level. EMBEF can also become an
advisor and contributor to the European Platform for Biodiversity
Research and Strategy.
Create or facilitate access to resources and install a sabbatical
MarBEF will facilitate: access to research vessels, sampling and/or
analytical equipment, distributed computing facilities, mesocosms,
web-based analytical and taxonomic tools, experimental facilities,
databases, molecular laboratories, reference collections, libraries etc.
We will generate a register of these resources available through MarBEF.
We will bring together resources where the need has been identified,
e.g. new web-based tools for identification, and a taxonomy clearing
system to overcome the taxonomic/identification bottleneck and
streamline the process of identification of specimens and the
description of new species.
We will facilitate a system of short-term sabbaticals ranging in
duration from two weeks to three months. We will use this system to
promote the exchange of between European institutions of senior
scientists engaged in collaborative MarBEF-related research or training
activities, and to provide seed-money for proposal writing.
Promote and undertake collaborative research on marine biodiversity
and ecosystem functioning
The scientific objectives of the MarBEF programme are:
- To understand how marine biodiversity varies across spatial and
temporal scales, and between levels of biological organisation, in
order to develop methods to detect significant change.
- To generate theory, models and tests of the relationship between
marine biodiversity (assessed at different levels of organization:
genetic, traditional species, and functional groups) and ecosystem
function through the integration of theoretical and modeling
exercises, comparative analyses and carefully-designed experimental
- To understand the economic, social and cultural value of marine
biodiversity and hence develop the research base required to support
the sustainable management of marine biodiversity including, for
example, the monitoring of the health of marine ecosystems, the
management of aquaculture, the conservation of marine biodiversity,
the history of marine resource exploitation, and the leisure use of
MarBEF will stimulate the creation of teams with the right mix of
skills, expertise and resources. We have brought together the critical
mass of researchers who together will generate a series of project
proposals in topics related to marine biodiversity. In doing this MarBEF
will also strengthen the European contribution to international
programmes, such as the Census of Marine Life, and future IGBP and
Promote communication and integrative data management
MarBEF will espouse the philosophy of data sharing. Access to very
large scale data sets will bring unique benefits, the most important of
which is that such data sets can reveal patterns not apparent in small
scale data. The IT heart of MarBEF will be a specialised search engine
and a series of interlinked databases, including several existing
databases, such as ERMS. They will allow network members to know what
research is being done, or is planned, throughout the network and it
will enable them to better plan and integrate future research. The core
facility will be a distributed database containing information about all
of the marine species known to occur in European waters, with details of
sites from which they have been recorded. The biological data and
associated physical data will form the basis for ongoing research into
marine biodiversity research across Europe, ranging from long-term,
large-scale studies to small-scale, short-term investigations. This
system will be designed for sharing data: only by pooling our data
resources across Europe can we become truly competitive when addressing
the big questions in marine biodiversity and ecosystem science.
The MarBEF portal will be linked to existing regional and global
databases, such as GBIF, ERMS, ASFA, FishBase, AlgaeBase, OBIS (Ocean
Biogeographic Information System), British Oceanographic Data Centre
(BODC), SAHFOS and MBA-MarLin, all of which have invaluable expertise as
well as data relevant to our objectives.
Create a forum for industry, stakeholders and end-users
MarBEF will promote between industry and research by inviting SMEs to
join the network in particular tasks.. We will provide or facilitate
access to data pertinent to applied aspects of marine ecology,
including: changing patterns of marine fisheries, continuing growth of
aquaculture, the search for novel natural products, and the use of the
marine environment for waste processing or disposal. Working at the
interface between marine ecology and socio-economics, we will explore
and stimulate public debate on alternative valuation systems for marine
ecosystems, marine products and marine biota, and ways of mitigating
anthropogenic impact on these systems.