The BIOSCAN Europe initiative brings together existing European national networks, scientists and projects that work on the monitoring of biodiversity using DNA to build an efficient European system of interconnected facilities for rapid identification and monitoring of species
We take this action to address the challenging targets for pan-European biodiversity monitoring set out in the Green Deal and the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030.
BIOSCAN Europe is part of the International Barcode of Life Consortium (iBOL) and its global BIOSCAN initiative which aims to transform understanding of species diversity, their interactions, and dynamics. Our aim is to unite and connect the national nodes of iBOL as well as the wider community of biodiversity researchers present in Europe, and to establish a European hub for the International Barcode of Life consortium.
“European researchers have played a central role in the iBOL consortium since its launch in 2010. BIOSCAN Europe will amplify these impacts by coordinating a scientific community with the capacity to reverse the loss of biodiversity. It’s a model for the rest of our world.”
Canada Research Chair in Molecular Biodiversity, University of Guelph
Scientific Director and Board Chair, iBOL
A shared European perspective and framework for effective DNA-based biodiversity monitoring, connecting and enhancing national DNA barcoding infrastructures and initiatives.
How we approach our mission
We will establish the European node of iBOL (International Barcode of Life) as a hub for DNA-based biomonitoring.
We do this in collaboration with national iBOL nodes, the international iBOL initiative, and the wider pool of researchers in the field of biodiversity genomics and biomonitoring. This also means investing in developing a system of interconnected facilities which provides FAIR data for rapid identification of species across the continent.
We aspire to connect expertise, including taxonomists, ecologists, genome scientists, and bioinformaticians, and to benefit from the democratisation of scientific practices through citizens’ participation.
To fully integrate DNA-based biomonitoring and identification into standard policy and practice, we will work with environmental agencies and regulatory bodies.
WHAT TO DO
Build a European
"We need boots on the ground and data in the cloud."
Our collective response to this challenge includes the design and implementation of comprehensive science-policy frameworks to mitigate risks and lessen the decline of species, habitats and ecosystem services.
Our initiative will leverage existing European investments in physical and digital infrastructures and in science networks to deliver a distributed European Bio-surveillance System, to initiate its operation, and explore its long-term scientific and socio-economic implications.
WHY IS THIS NEEDED?
THE GREATEST THREATS FACING HUMANITY
Biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation are among the greatest threats facing humanity over the next decades. They threaten the foundations of our economy and the costs of inaction are ever-increasing.
The world lost an estimated €3.5-18.5 trillion per year in ecosystem services from 1997 to 2011 owing to land-cover change, and an estimated €5.5-10.5 trillion per year from land degradation [source: European Green Deal]. Biodiversity loss results in reduced crop yields and fish catches, increased economic damage from flooding and other disasters, and the loss of potential new sources of medicine.
Using multiple financial and networking instruments to develop our partnership:
Leveraging Horizon Europe (Climate & biodiversity, Infrastructures, Partnerships)
COST Action (networking)
Establish communication & networking platform to connect national initiatives
Organising workshops and interact with stakeholders (i.e. Research Infrastructures, science-policy bodies etc)
TO DEVELOP THE PARTNERSHIP
Establish a strong European networkthat integrates established national-level and
institutional initiatives building DNA reference libraries and DNA-based
biomonitoring to build a powerful regional hub for the International Barcode of Life (IBOL).
Leverage the participation of a) pan-European and national research data infrastructures, b) science networks, including collections-based and genomics organisations and their embedded taxonomic and bioinformatics expertise, and c) citizen science networks.
Developing protocols and workflows to address outstanding challenges in DNA biomonitoring including upscaling specimen barcoding, quantification and calibration of eDNA and metabarcoding studies, increasing resolution and discriminatory power of barcode assays in key taxa, streamlining analytical pipelines, and wider integration of DNA barcode data with other data sources
Work towards delivering comprehensive DNA barcode reference libraries and establishing effective rapid species identification observatories for important groups such as pollinators.
Establish a sample supply chain of expertly verified high-quality DNA-barcoded samples to support the complementary objectives of the Earth Biogenome Project which focuses on whole genome sequencing.
FOR MONITORING BIODIVERSITY
Effective monitoring of biodiversity is essential to assess ecosystem health, understand the consequences of environmental change, to understand the outcomes of management interventions, and to guide policy to prevent biodiversity loss.
DNA barcoding offers a powerful, scalable and cost-effective mechanism for monitoring biodiversity. Sequencing a small part of the genome allows the processing of millions of samples, allowing rapid species identification and biomonitoring from a wide range of tissue sources including sample mixtures, juveniles, fragmented or processed tissues, and environmental samples such as water, air and soil. This shallow pass sequencing of individuals thus allows the effective semi-automated monitoring of biodiversity at the very large scales required.