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LifeWatch ERIC

English, Sciences, 4 seasons, 49 episodes, 14 hours, 30 minutes
LifeWatch ERIC is a research infrastructure facilitating research into biodiversity and ecosystems, supporting society in addressing key planetary challenges. Our main series is 'A Window on Science', where we outline the progress made in the last two years, developing cutting edge e-services for biodiversity and ecosystem researchers. Learn more at
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#49 Biodiversity responses, human well-being and climate change

Alberto Basset, Professor of Ecology at the University of Salento and Director of the LifeWatch ERIC Service Centre in Italy, in this fourth podcast on biodiversity issues, entitled "Biodiversity responses, human well-being and climate change" explores how biodiversity loss and climate change, which are both having profound impacts on societies around the world, relate to each other, while focusing on the most important impacts of climate change and global warming on ecosystem functioning, ecosystem services, and living organisms. The importance of the Convention on Biological Diversity '30x30' target is also analysed while highlighting its potential future developments, e.g. the need of going beyond the traditional definition of a Protected Area, or actions and regulations for a more advanced protection of the natural capital of our Planet. LifeWatch ERIC will do its part to secure biodiversity, building on the web a research infrastructure open worldwide, providing tools and services for early career researchers, policy makers, citizens, in order to deepen our knowledge on how biodiversity is organised, maintained, can be restored or is expected to change, to address all the challenging issues we have at the moment.Species are migrating due to climate change, changing their niches and creating different conditions, while impacting food webs and key processes within ecosystems; most importantly, climate change is directly influencing individual metabolism and primary productivity and it is therefore expected to cause a loss of biomass in all regions all over the world (except in the Polar regions), affecting all kind of ecosystems and groups of species. Conserving and restoring natural spaces, both on land and in the water, will be essential for limiting carbon emissions and adapting to an already changing climate. In this sense, rewilding could be very important to foster biodiversity recovery and species’ recolonisation of ecosystems. However, rewilding also represents a risk: we could consider to solve the problem of biodiversity loss and act mitigating climate change impacts by rewilding ecosystems in western countries, and at the same time continue to destroy ecosystems all over in the tropical and equatorial latitudes.We realise that climate change is occurring, we “feel the impacts of climate change, because we perceive climate change at a sensory level. Now, we need to do a step forward: we need to perceive that we are far from sustainable development as we perceive that we are far from a climate equilibrium.
1/19/202426 minutes, 6 seconds
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# 48 The British Ecological Society: a personal view

Paul Bower, left the British Ecological Society in October 2023, after 7 years as Senior Development Manager. In this podcast "The British Ecological Society: a personal view", he speaks freely of the pride and gratitude he feels at having worked with outstanding ecologists in what was the world's first ecological society, founded in 1913, and which boasts an impressive range of professional peer-reviewed journals. BES is not just British, though. It has around 7,500 members, in 119 countries, and  although based in London, is a global organisation, with something like 35% of the membership living outside the United Kingdom. In this lead-up to the Annual Meeting in Belfast this December, Paul talks about synergies with LifeWatch ERIC and European Research Infrastructures, and the challenges of  communicating science, public outreach and citizen science. He discusses communicating in a post-Covid world and how to make virtual events engaging, and is optimistic that international cooperation will find science-based solutions to the climate challenges that the planet is facing: "Scientists will always, and have for thousands of years, found their way through political turmoil to work together".   
12/6/202323 minutes, 10 seconds
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#47 The need to conserve and manage biodiversity

Alberto Basset, Professor of Ecology at the University of Salento and Director of the LifeWatch ERIC Service Centre in Italy, in his third podcast "The need to conserve and manage biodiversity" argues there is no longer much wilderness left in the world. Large areas of our planet have been rebuilt, ecosystems fragmented and forests destroyed in Europe and much of North America, where we have actually rebuilt our own human ecosystem, changing the landscape and importing alien species from elsewhere. This not only affects biodiversity that developed over millions of years, but also ecosystem services that are essential for human life, services that we don't even properly understand. The air we breathe, for example, the oxygen produced through photosynthesis, the benefits of nutrient cycling, tidal waters that protect us against disaster and food production. One great problem is that we are driving to extinction species that we have not yet even classified, in the rainforest canopies that we are rapidly destroying or organisms in the soil that we are losing because of pollution. Beyond the ethical value of biodiversity, we need to avoid further destruction and rebuild and preserve ecosystems, and then  better understand the way that some species that connect different potentially isolated ecosystems giving stability to the whole area. like eagles in Europe or whales in the ocean. Humans represent represent most of the biomass of mammals on the planet, and we are eating a lot of resources, consuming 30% of what our planet can produce, and that is driving putting species at risk of extinction. So it is our responsibility to move urgently towards large scale management of our natural environment and manage our wilderness areas better.
11/27/202321 minutes, 15 seconds
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How biodiversity is organised and maintained

This second interview with Alberto Basset, Professor of Ecology at the University of Salento and Director of the LifeWatch ERIC Service Centre in Lecce, Italy, concerns "How biodiversity is organised and maintained". The organisation doesn't vary simply according to the species found in a given system, how many are primary producers, how many are consumers or predators, the space available or the resources on hand; it is related to fundamental drivers on energy availability, disturbance intensity and periodicity, the degree of openness and a few others . If species feed on different resources they can co-exist, but the body size related to resource quantity requirements, and the degree of similarity among species can also have a role in setting the coexistence conditions organising biodiversity in ecosystems.. Communities inside an ecosystem are always the product of natural selection and thus are the product of progressive co-adaption and co-evolution - it is the interaction between species that makes those species and those communities stable over time. Human activities disrupt that self management. We disturb the balance in ecosystems by consuming too many resources that could be used by other species, and by polluting the system which decreases the quality of life for other species. Responses to our lack of suitable management approaches are seen more quickly in aquatic environments. We could say that aquatic ecosystems are 'fast reacting' because the producers, like algae, are microscopic and can double their density up to ten times in a single day, while terrestrial systems are 'slow reacting' because producers like plants and trees might live for a hundred years. Having said that, the Mediterranean Sea has been disturbed by humans for over 5,000 years but remains one of the biodiversity hotspots on the planet. 
11/8/202316 minutes, 18 seconds
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#45 Polychaete research offers environmental and commercial opportunities

When Izwandy Idris fell in love with polychaete - baitworms or bloodworms - during his PhD, many people wondered why he wanted to specialise in worms, instead of more iconic marine species like whales and dolphins. Now, as Professor at the Institute of Oceanography and Environment at the Universiti Malaysia Terengganu, he is still a passionate advocate for the many virtues of the humble bloodworm. "They can be very useful and perhaps make you rich as well," he says. Fish farms, the biosynthesis of nanoparticles, and applications in human medicine could transform what at present is a 4D job - Dirty, Dangerous, Damaging and Disturbing - into profitable local employment opportunities. Well-informed environmental management can lead to economic progress.Yes, polychaete are widely used as fish bait, but are also a valuable food stock for the aquaculture industry, because of their high polyunsaturated fat content, which promotes the development of juveniles and increases fish farm yields. Less well known is their ability to synthesise nanoparticles of silver and gold, which have antimicrobial, catalytic, pharmaceutical and electrical conductivity properties. Research show that polychaete have wound-healing capability, like their close relative the leech, and that their blood can be used as a human blood substitute, of great value in organ transplants and blood transfusions. Some Pacific Islanders also eat polychaete and organise feasts during the spawning season. When the world is looking for alternate sources of protein without cutting down forests to raise more livestock, polychaete represent a more sustainable alternative, even if a bit salty.
10/25/202321 minutes, 31 seconds
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#44 What is Biodiversity?

Alberto Basset features in this podcast 'What is Biodiversity' because he is Professor of Ecology at the University of Salento and Director of the LifeWatch ERIC Service Centre in Lecce, Italy. Starting with the foundation concepts of biology - the science of life, or more operationally, whatever concerns life and living organisms - and diversity, in terms of the diversity of the species, populations collected at a single sampling station, taxonomical diversity, genetic diversity, of species inside an ecosystem, and the diversity of species and ecosystems within a landscape or biogeographical region.  Prof Bassett goes on to discuss the infinitesimal probability of what we take for granted, what we observe in nature, actually having developed at all, through natural selection and evolution, over the 3.7 billion years of life on Earth. A development based on random mutations that made certain individuals fitter and more likely to leave progeny than others, so as to produce stable communities, be they of the species or of the landscape. Which places a enormous responsibility on our shoulders, because human activities are now interfering with and changing something that is not intrinsically stable, but the product of 3 billion years of development against the odds. We humans are destroying biodiversity faster than we can quantify how many species actually make up our biosphere. A complex and fragile biodiversity that we should take more care to protect. 
10/11/202320 minutes, 24 seconds
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The Global Biodiversity Information Facility

The Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) is an international network and data infrastructure funded by the world's governments that works closely with data-holding institutions, natural history museums, universities, government agencies, researchers and citizen scientists. As an intergovernmental organisation focused on biodiversity, it gathers data on species occurrences and makes the information available online. GBIF manages a network of nodes in 64 countries worldwide with over 80,000 different datasets and nearly 2.3 billion records.Executive Secretary Joe Miller, the guest of this episode, emphasises the importance of standardising machine-driven data that might come from camera traps or the enormous quantity of environmental data available through DNA sequencing of soils. New data comes every day, and the development of tools and products to meet users' needs never stops. On their website, visitors can select a species on the occurrences page and look around or use the 'literature' feature to explore all the users of GBIF data, like the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Moreover, GBIF hosts hundreds of papers about climate change, agricultural biodiversity, ecology, or evolution, crediting data collectors thanks to the Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs). Have a look!
8/7/202315 minutes, 26 seconds
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Voices of Women IWD: Nataša Pipenbaher (SI) and Ana Filipa Filipe (PT)

To celebrate International Women’s Day 2023, LifeWatch ERIC created this podcast series in which scientists from our eight EU member states talk, two at a time, candidly about their work and experience. These ' Voices of Women @LifeWatch ERIC for International Women's Day' conversations elegantly complement the reflections of our International Gender Officer Africa Zanella on the importance to science and to society of implementing the European Union's Gender Equality Strategy. This fourth interview with Ana Filipa Filipe, Researcher at the School of Agriculture, University of Lisbon in Portugal, and Nataša Pipenbaher from the Department of Biology at the University of Maribor in Slovenia, as the last in the series, is further testimony of the enriching experiences and contemporary points of view that women bring to their work in research today. 
3/10/202316 minutes, 17 seconds
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Voices of Women IWD: Dessislava Dimitrova (BG) and Priscilla Licandro (IT)

Priscilla Licandro, from the Integrative Marine Ecology Department, Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn in Naples, Italy and Dessislava Dimitrova, from the Institute of Biology and Ecosystem Research at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences in Sofia, get together in the fourth podcast in the mini-series 'Voices of Women @LifeWatch ERIC for International Women's Day'. They exchange ideas on women in science, women in society, role models they have had and - from their different perspectives - give the same advice to young women starting out in their careers: "follow your heart and go for it!"   
3/9/202323 minutes, 3 seconds
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Voices of Women IWD: LifeWatch ERIC International Gender Officer Africa Zanella

The centerpiece in the 'Voices of Women @LifeWatch ERIC for International Women's Day' podcasts is this interview with International Gender Officer Africa Zanella, hosted by Chief Communication Officer Sara Montinaro, and published today 8 March 2023 - Happy International Women's Day to all our listeners!As such, this podcast draws on the other four interviews in which scientists invited from our eight EU member states talk openly in pairs about their work and experiences.  Ms. Zanella discusses progress made in the last year at LifeWatch ERIC, gender bias, gender balance, and the importance of implementing the European Union's Gender Equality Strategy and giving a voice to women’s contributions to science and to society. 
3/8/202323 minutes, 34 seconds
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Voices of Women IWD: Britt Lonneville (BE) and Wanda Plaiti (GR)

LifeWatch ERIC has created a podcast miniseries to celebrate International Women’s Day 2023, featuring candid interviews with women working in science, called Voices of Women @LifeWatch ERIC for International Women's Day. The scientists we invited from our eight member states talk openly in pairs about their work and experiences, and provide insights from their varied backgrounds. The resultant podcasts are an enriching panorama of the contributions of women to science and to society.  In this second Women in Science IWD interview, Britt Lonneville, Science Officer in the Data Centre in VLIZ, The Flanders Marine Institute in Belgium, discovers many things in common with Wanda Plaiti, Oceanographer at HCMR, the Hellenic Centre for Marine Science in Crete.
3/7/202322 minutes, 10 seconds
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Voices of Women IWD: Iria Soto (ES) and Yifang Shi (NL)

To celebrate International Women’s Day 2023, LifeWatch ERIC has created a podcast miniseries that investigates the authentic experiences of women working in science, called Voices of Women @LifeWatch ERIC for International Women's Day. We invited scientists from our eight member states to talk candidly about their work and experience, and interviewed them in pairs, which produced some spontaneous and insightful conversations. A range of ages and a diversity of backgrounds are represented, which makes the end result an enriching range of experiences and contemporary points of view of women working in research today.  This first Women in Science interview features Iria Soto, Agroecology Project Manager at Federtech, within the LifeWatch ERIC Agroecology Team in the ICT-Core in Seville, and Yifang Shi, Scientific Developer for Ecological Applications of LiDAR Remote Sensing, at the Virtual Laboratory and Innovations Centre in Amsterdam.
3/6/202321 minutes, 5 seconds
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Gender, Equity and Research

In conversation with Africa Zanella, LifeWatch ERIC International Gender Officer, for the International Day of Women and Girls in Science.
2/11/202218 minutes, 53 seconds
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Trailer: A Window on Science

 LifeWatch ERIC, the European e-Science Infrastructure for biodiversity and ecosystem research, is starting up a free podcast series, called  'A Window on Science'.  We have chosen this easy-access podcast interview format, because reliable information on the environment is of relevance to everybody. The knowledge produced through the LifeWatch ERIC e-Services can inform political decisions and assist businesses in transitioning to a green economy. Have a listen and subscribe to our forthcoming episodes of 'A Window on Science'!  
2/2/20222 minutes, 21 seconds