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JULY 2021 NEWSLETTER
   

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A new chapter has begun for GEO BON! 

 
Since 2014, GEO BON had been hosted by iDiv, the German Center for Integrative Biodiversity Research, in Leipzig (Germany).
 
2021 marks the beginning of a new transition for the GEO BON Secretariat, as it moves its headquarters to Montreal (Canada).
 

SBSTTA-24
 
GEO BON’s participation in the 24th meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice
 

SWOT Analysis Workshops

 
The GEO BON Secretariat held a stimulating 3-day workshop with members from all around the world from June 16-18.
Goal: To find out more about members' vision on GEO BON's current standing, as it moves forward into its next stage of development.


Microsoft - GEO BON Partnership

 
Towards a better understanding of global biodiversity change through BON-in-a-Box 2.0.

GEO BON Webinars on Supporting the Implementation of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework 


Don't forget to register for the next one!

MBON News


MarineBON is one of the core partners of Marine Life 2030, which was endorsed as part of UN Ocean Decade Action. MarineBON has been deeply engaged in the conception of this program, as well as several of its members.

ARMS-MBON:
 

A New Network For Genetic Monitoring and Early Detection of Non-Indigenous Marine Species
 

The MarineBON in Sweden has recently launched a genetic BON for monitoring marine biodiversity in Europe and the polar regions.

The TAO BON Regional Workshop

This new workshop, held between May 17- 20, 2021, was a well-attended event, with more than 270 viewers, which allowed for a very productive session on biodiversity data needs in the Andes region.

EuropaBON's  first workshop

This was the first stakeholder event organized by EuropaBON on user and policy needs. It was held between May 26 - 28, 2021, and was well-attended by close to 350 registrants from 48 countries.


The All-Atlantic2021 MBON side-event

 

This side-event that took place on June 2, 2021, brought together stakeholders from Ministries, high-level representatives and ocean leaders (i.e. researchers, entrepreneurs, academics, and the civil society), was a step forward towards Connecting, Cooperating, and Acting for the Atlantic Ocean.
 

The APBON 

 
APBON celebrates 12 years already and has a new strategic plan toward 2030.

The Arctic BON 

 
The CBMP (Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program) has released its third "State of the Arctic Biodiversity Report.”
 
Also the new 2021–2025 CBMP Strategic Plan is out!
 

                    


Ana Sofia VazAndrew K. Skidmore, and Ruth Taylor are among the authors of three new papers.
                             

NEWS FROM THE SECRETARIAT

GEO BON moves headquarters to Montreal, Quebec, Canada

It might have gone unnoticed in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic that was sweeping the whole world and bringing along unprecedented challenges to everyone on the planet, but it was an important milestone for the GEO BON community. Following the selection of the Quebec Center for Biodiversity Science (QCBS) to host the secretariat by the GEO BON Implementation Committee, on July 6th, 2020, GEO BON has moved its headquarters from Leipzig, Germany, to Montreal, Canada.
The effort was made possible by a multi-stakeholder collaboration between the major players in the research field in Montreal – namely, QCBS, Natures et Technologies, McGill University, Université de Montréal, and Université de Sherbrooke - and the provincial and federal governments, as well as the City of Montréal.
The move comes with unique opportunities, as well as many responsibilities that the two co-chairs, Professor Andrew Gonzales, and Dr. María Cecilia Londoño, take to heart, as they move forward with supporting the network’s growing role in the provision of observational data to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) decision makers and the scientific community, along with strengthening its capacity to assist with other BONs’ development and to nurture members’ connectivity and communication all across the network.

A new team at the GEO BON Secretariat

 
The new Secretariat has two co-Chairs, a new Executive Secretary, a Communications and Engagement Coordinator, and a Science Officer (both working part-time).
 

Professor Dr. Andrew Gonzalez, McGill University   

The Founding director of the QCBS, a Liber Ero Chair in Conservation Biology, and a Killam Fellow, Andrew brings over 22 years of expertise into the field of biodiversity science, with a focus on the causes and consequences of biodiversity change, to support the restoration of ecological connectivity in human-dominated landscapes. A considerable amount of his time is dedicated to translating biodiversity research into knowledge for conservation and policy in Canada, with the support of the Liber Ero Chair in Biodiversity Conservation.

Dr. María Cecilia Londoño Murcia, the Humboldt Institute

As a senior researcher in the Biodiversity Assessment and Monitoring Program at the Humboldt Institute in Bogota, Colombia, María Cecilia’s main research interests focus on the use of biodiversity geographic analysis for decision making. She works on the production of biodiversity indicators for multiple users and on the development of web platforms for biodiversity data dissemination. Maria Cecilia coordinates and performs research that contributes to implement the knowledge to action cycles related to specific problems, in the context of biodiversity conservation and sustainable development.

Dr. Adriana Radulovici

As the new GEO BON executive secretary, Adriana brings with her a wealth of expertise in marine biodiversity seen through genetic diversity of crustaceans, as one of the first researchers in her field to barcode marine crustaceans across Canada’s oceans, as part of the Canadian Barcode of Life Network and the Canadian Healthy Oceans Network. She has experience with data management and data curation, as well as end-to-end processing of marine organisms. Her 5-year collaboration with the Secretariat of the CBD has started her on a path which has put the biodiversity science-policy dialogue to the forefront of her priorities.

Dr. Katie Millette

Katie's expertise and research interests are in molecular ecology, landscape genetics, and patterns of species genetic diversity in nature. Before taking up her new role as a Science Officer with GEO BON, she worked at the UN Secretariat for the Convention on Biological Diversity (SCBD) where she supported the implementation of the Global Taxonomy Initiative and the program on invasive alien species. She completed her Ph.D. in 2020 at McGill University with Drs. Melania Cristescu and Andrew Gonzalez. Her research investigated how human-induced environmental stressors (e.g., pollution, human population density) affect patterns of intraspecific genetic diversity of animal species worldwide, and how the loss or addition of environmental barriers may influence the divergence of ecologically isolated species.

Cristiana M. Mandru 

As the new Communications and engagement coordinator, Cristiana’s role is to help identify and address the best ways to share information across the network, and to impart lessons learned from previous events, as a means to move forward into GEO BON’s next phase of development.  She brings along her experience as a journalist, communicator, and facilitator of other university research projects in quite diverse and international settings.
 

GEO BON’s participation in the 24th meeting of the SBSTTA-24 


By Katie Millette, GEO BON Secretariat

The first part of the twenty-fourth meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA-24) took place online from May 3 to June 9, 2021.
The event, which was postponed and delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, consisted of three blocks of plenary and contact group sessions, and was attended by over 1,500 registrants, representing 102 countries.

As with all SBSTTA meetings, the aim of this event was to provide multidisciplinary and timely advice to the Conference of the Parties (COP) and carry forward the work of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and its Protocols (see https://www.cbd.int/sbstta/ for more information).  
Among some of the agenda items covered during this first-ever virtual SBSTTA were the post-2020 global biodiversity framework (post-2020 GBF), marine and coastal biodiversity, biodiversity and agriculture, biodiversity and health, and invasive alien species. More...
 

SWOT ANALYSIS WORKSHOPS

by GEO BON Secretariat
June 16-18, 2021
To better align the new Secretariat's agenda with the members' needs, as well as to help strengthen its internal communication channels and its ability to develop and support individual BONs and national needs, besides providing a much-needed forum for reflection and discussion on GEO BON's growing role in the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, a three-day SWOT analysis workshop was conducted between June 16-18, in three different time zones.
The event, attended by 40 people from all around the world, among which BON, Work Group, and Task Force leads, former and present GEO BON Chairs, and members of the Advisory Board, came at a ripe moment in GEO BON's evolution into a rising partner that stands ready to provide observational data and data-derived services to the Convention on Biological Diversity and other biodiversity-related intergovernmental organizations.
The fruitful discussions during the workshops, that were moderated by excellent facilitator Joanna Ogburn, were unanimously appreciated by all the attendees, as they gave ground to expressing key issues to GEO BON's future health and standing, as a cohesive and well-structured organization, able to capitalize on its strengths, while addressing any weaknesses and challenges to further grow.
The Secretariat is working with Ms. Ogburn to incorporate the salient points raised during the workshops into a final report, which will become available by the end of August 2021. The co-Chairs will then integrate this report into their recommendations for the next implementation plan that is to be submitted to the Implementation Committee by the end of the year.
The SWOT workshops proved that the members' boundless energy, their willingness to cooperate, to share ideas, and to engage in constructive discussions, are probably what it takes to nurture the network's growing into a possible next phase - from Knowledge to Action. To be continued...

GEO BON PROJECTS

The GEO BON - Microsoft Partnership or

How can BON-in-a-Box 2.0 help us better understand biodiversity change 


By GEO BON Secretariat
 
Global economy and human wellbeing depend upon biodiversity and ecosystem services; however, the staggering rate at which biodiversity loss is rapidly spreading around the world now, largely due to human activity, exceeds that of any other times in human history. 
Currently, biodiversity information, the foundation for all decisions made to mitigate the risks due to accelerated biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation, is incohesive, very slow to generate, and too often incomplete. 
There is an urgent need for an integrated decision support system that can guide the initiation and development of monitoring across the globe and assess where, why, and how fast biodiversity is changing.
The goal of this much-needed system is to draw

upon widespread and multiscale cloud-based data on biodiversity observations, support the detection and attribution of biodiversity change, guide new observations, and provide forecasts to support decisions by governments and international organizations designed to mitigate risks and restore biodiversity.
Furthermore, parties to the CBD have repeatedly expressed a clear need for technical support to calculate the indicators associated with each milestone of Goal A of the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) of the CBD, and Target 19 on monitoring.
This is where the partnership between GEO BON and Microsoft comes in to establish BON-in-a Box 2.0 as an integrated biodiversity information system to:
o  Monitor and assess biodiversity change across the globe by drawing on multiscale cloud-based observation data
o Support regional, national, and global decision-making to stem biodiversity loss and restore degraded ecosystems.
This partnership will bring more visibility to previously undetected biodiversity changes and efficiently assess progress to a timely monitoring of the GBF.

GEO BON Webinars on Supporting the
Implementation of the Post-2020 GBF

By GEO BON Secretariat
 
The Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the Group on Earth Observations Biodiversity Observation Network (GEO BON), the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD) and United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) in collaboration with the UN Regional Commissions are organizing a series of webinars to increase the understanding of the monitoring framework of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework (GBF) and to foster collaboration between stakeholders.                                                                                                                        More...
 

NEWS FROM OUR NETWORK
MBON News

Marine Life 2030 endorsed as a UN Ocean Decade Action

By GEO BON Secretariat
 
The United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) was officially launched on 1 June 2021 through a High-Level event hosted by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research of Germany in partnership with UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC). The Ocean Decade will see an outstanding alliance of stakeholders (UN agencies, governments, science, industry, NGOs, civil society, philanthropy, media, arts and humanities) working together towards its vision “The Science We Need For The Ocean We Want”.
To kickstart the Ocean Decade and to celebrate World Ocean’s Day, UN announced the first set of endorsed transformative Decade Actions. Among them, Marine Life 2030: A Global Integrated Marine Biodiversity Information Management and Forecasting System for Sustainable Development and Conservation. Led by the Smithsonian Institution, the programme gathers a long list of partners from around the world and has a strong participation from the Marine Biodiversity Observation Network (MBON). More...

The All-Atlantic 2021 MBON side-event

 Advancing Collaborative Biodiversity Observations

By Joana Soares, Project Officer (PhD) | AIR Centre – Atlantic International Research Centre, Executive Secretary | MBON – Marine Biodiversity Observation Network

The Marine Biodiversity Observation Network (MBON) showcased the latest thinking for Advancing Collaborative Biodiversity Observations at the recent All-Atlantic2021 - All-Atlantic R&I for a Sustainable Ocean: Ministerial & Stakeholder Conference, from June 2 to June 4th, 2021. This was part of the high-level conference "All-Atlantic Research and Innovation for a Sustainable Ocean." MBON responded to the All-Atlantic2021 Pledging Campaign that encourages the creation of an All-Atlantic coordinated interoperable marine biodiversity observation system to inform policy and the society for sustainable use of ocean resources, in the spirit of the Galway and Belém Statements.
The MBON session on June 2, engaged more than 60 participants from all over the globe, to jointly “cooperate, connect and act” as a community of practice to observe life in the sea for operational and research purposes. More...

ARMS-MBON

New Network for Genetic Monitoring & Early Detection of Non-Indigenous Marine Species

By Matthias Obst, University of Gothenburg, Department of Marine Sciences, Sweden

 

As part of a global initiative originally developed by the Smithsonian Institute, a marine biodiversity observation network (MBON) has deployed more than 130 Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structures (ARMS) in the vicinity of marine sanctuaries as well as industrial locations (e.g. ports, and marinas) in Europe and the polar regions.
This network is supported by the EU funded ASSEMBLE Plus project, the European Marine Biological Resource Centre (EMBRC), the

 

Interreg program GEANS, and the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management (SwAM). The aim of the network is to monitor changes in hard-bottom habitats on a continental scale, provide data about the impact of climate change and human activities in these environments, and ensure that this information is globally available via the Ocean Biodiversity Information System (OBIS).
More...

GEO BON Workshops

Highlights from the Workshops of the Tropical Andes Observatory (TAO) BON

 May 17 - 20, 2021
 
By Zannia Romero, Conservación Amazónica 
The TAO BON
 

Lessons learned from the TAO Workshops and next steps:

  • For the next workshop, we consider promoting the events and workshops two weeks in advance to have a greater reach.
  • It would be useful to generate surveys at the end of each workshop, to be filled out by attendees.
  • If possible, budget permitting, it would help to have a production company that manages the zoom for all meetings (workshops).
  • Translators may need to familiarize themselves with the technical terminology of the workshop topic (with more time in advance).
  • To create increased public awareness and to successfully promote the next workshop,  it would be interesting to create content in partnership with the TAO Project allies (infographics, videos with testimonials from workshop participants, photos) about this last workshop.                                                                                                                      More...

The Europa BON Workshop

May 26- 28, 2021

By Juliette MartinInternational Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, EuropaBON 

 
EuropaBON held its first stakeholder event on user and policy needs in May 2021. The objectives of the workshop were two-fold: 1) to secure commitment by the EU Commission and other high-level policy agencies, including the EEA and Eurostat and 2) to reach out and actively engage stakeholders in the different EU member states in identifying their biodiversity monitoring and data needs to address open policy questions. For more information on project aims and outcomes, please visit our EuropaBON website                                                                                                                                              More...
Lessons learned from the EuropaBON Workshops and next steps:
  • One important result of the workshop was that while we already have strong research support for the project, we need to improve policy support, especially at the national and regional levels.
  • Based on the information gathered during the workshop (especially during days 2-3) and the discussions that will follow in the next workshop of this series, we will draft a User & Policy Needs Assessment that will be circulated to key institutional stakeholders for input and comments prior to being finalized and delivered to the EC at the end of October 2021.
  • To collect the necessary information feeding into this report, we will also carry out a survey to capture the biodiversity data policy needs of different stakeholder groups in Europe.         More...

Highlights from the APBON

New Strategic plan of Asia-Pacific BON
toward 2030

By APBON Co-chairsHiroyuki Muraoka, Runi Sylvester Pungga, and Yongyut Trisurat

Launched in 2009, the Asia-Pacific Biodiversity Observation Network (APBON) is an institutional / research group network in the AP region that not only use but contribute to the decision and policy-making knowledge base for biodiversity and ecosystem conservation. Based on the achievements from its first decade of existence, as well as the regional network's recent needs, APBON has published an open-access paper on the new strategies toward 2030 (Takeuchi Y. and Muraoka H., et al. 2021, Ecological Research 36: 232-257). 
While the COVID-19 pandemic has been limiting our research and workshop activities, APBON has pursued the initiative of collaboration, information exchange, and  team building,
through the organization of webinars on regional biodiversity issues and activities.
On January 22, 2021, we held our 12th APBON Workshop, aimed at identifying biodiversity observations' global needs and opportunities, as well as discussing the collaborative activities of national BONs, APBON and GEO BON. APMBON (Asia-Pacific Marine BON), a sub-program of APBON and MBON, also held a workshop in February to discuss a complementary information-gathering strategy for seagrass and Mangrove areas in Southeast Asia. For more up-to-date information on APBON activities, click here.                                   
More...

Highlights from the Arctic BON

The Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Programme (CBMP)

 

By Tom Barry, Executive Secretary, Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF)

Arctic Council Working group


Release of the CBMP's third "State of the Arctic Biodiversity Report” – this time focused on the terrestrial environment – along with the 2020 updates to the State of the Arctic Marine Biodiversity Report, released in 2017. The similarity of findings across CBMP's assessments in the terrestrial, freshwater, and marine ecosystems is striking. Climate change impacts to Arctic flora and fauna are evident, with examples of changing habitats, species declining and new species moving into the Arctic, changes in arctic ecosystems, and altered phenology accounting for pronounced vulnerabilities across these environments.

Upcoming activities:

- CBMP-Coastal begins work with a co-production of a knowledge platform.
- CBMP-Freshwater continues call for increased monitoring, promotes harmonized sampling.
- Implementing CBMP monitoring plans in the field.
- Extreme events and their impacts on Arctic freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems.
 
START (State of the Arctic Terrestrial Biodiversity Report): Released May 2021
SAMBR: Released May 2021: Marine Mammals and Seabirds
News from The Genetic Composition Working Group

By the GCWG Co-leadsSean HobanMargaret E. Hunter, and Anna McDonald


One of the aims of the Genetic Composition Working Group (GCWG) is to support the integration of genetic data and monitoring into management and policy. Over the last year, the GCWG’s main focus has been the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), given the urgent need to improve the wording on genetic diversity in the post-2020 global biodiversity framework. The co-leads and members of the GCWG have been working to advocate for more actionable genetics targets, goals and indicators in the CBD framework, for all species (not just agricultural). This has included hosting seminars for CBD representatives, country and NGO focal points, attending CBD meetings, and developing peer-reviewed papers and policy-relevant documents for stakeholders in the CBD.                                                  More...
 

 Artificial Intelligence (AI) for the Belize National Marine Habitat (NMHM) 

 

By Arlene Young (PI – Coastal Zone Management Authority &Institute, Belize), Chantalle Samuels, Andria Rosado, Emil Cherrington, and Robert Griffin.


The GEO BON-supported AI for the Belize National Marine Habitat Map (NMHM) project focuses on updating Belize’s existing Landsat-based two-decade old NMHM using recent, higher spatial and temporal resolution satellite imagery, updated mapping techniques, and leveraging the power of Microsoft’s Azure. In late 2020, the project held a stakeholder workshop to launch the project in Belize and gather information for integration and collaboration. Additionally, as part of the GEOBON Project, the CZMAI team conducted a ground truthing activity within the Belize Central Region for the key habitat classes which included coral, seagrass and mangrove.                                          More...

RECENT PUBLICATIONS

1. The journey to monitoring ecosystem services: Are we there yet? 
By Ana Sofia Vaz et all
In their latest publication, Ana Sofia Vaz and her colleagues from the Ecosystem Services Working Group have identified three key challenges in the development and implementation of monitoring schemes and indicators of ecosystem services (ES): (1) combining ES observations, data and methods across scales; (2) identifying operational ES metrics that consider the interactions between people and ecosystems; and (3) integrating the diversity of socio-cultural values and knowledge into monitoring activities. 
Click here for the DOI.                                                                                                                        More...
2. Priority list of biodiversity metrics to observe from space
By Andrew K. Skidmore et all

Monitoring the nature crisis using spaceborne platforms

How to monitor biodiversity using the space-borne platform

In a new publication, Prof. Dr Andrew Skidmore and his colleagues (many of whom are GEO BON members) are using existing remote sensing products to monitor essential biodiversity variables (EBVs) to measure biodiversity using the space-borne platform.
For the press release, click here. For the DOI, click here.

 
3. Acoustic detection of regionally rare bird species through deep convolutional neural networks 

By Ruth Taylor et all

Bioacoustic monitoring with machine learning (ML) models can provide valuable insights for informed decision-making in conservation efforts. In this study, the team built deep convolutional neural networks to analyze field recordings and classify calls of regionally rare bird species.  Limited training data is a challenge for model running on rare species.  This study describes the use of transfer learning, data augmentation, and K-fold cross validation to improve species presence survey results. 
For the DOI, click here.     To view the project website, click here

 
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