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GEO BON - CBD Webinars

GEO BON is continuing its series of webinars in collaboration with the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD) and the United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) on indicators in support of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework (GBF). The webinar topics have covered species populations and area-based conservation, genetic diversity, and ecosystem extent and integrity so far. Visit the website for more information and to re-watch the recordings. Many thanks to our speakers and participants who have greatly contributed to improve the understanding of the monitoring framework, as well as discuss technical aspects and challenges of the GBF implementation at the national and global level. Stay tuned for the upcoming topics in this series.

GEO BON’s participation in the third meeting of the
Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG 3)

During the OEWG 3 ( 23 August - 3 September 2021) on the post-2020 global biodiversity framework (GBF), GEO BON submitted a written statement, stressing the importance of Essential Biodiversity Variables (EBVs) to harmonize and standardize biodiversity data into indicators. GEO BON also contributed an information document, describing the Species Habitat Index (SHI), one of the headline indicators for Goal A of the framework. Concomitantly, during the contact group on diminishing risks for biodiversity, GEO BON provided input on Target 4, suggesting that this target should include  additional text to ensure that the genetic diversity of populations is protected, maintained, managed, and monitored, at levels ensuring adaptive potential.



GEO BON welcomes
Jean-Michel Lord as developer and Scrum Master

The GEO BON Secretariat has been growing! A new member has joined our ebullient team since last August: Jean-Michel Lord, software developer and Scrum Master. Jean-Michel brings seven years' experience in software development, which will play a crucial role in GEO BON’s next stage of expansion and its prominent global projects, including BON-in-a-Box 2.0.



News from the Genetic Composition Working Group (GCWG)

by Margaret Hunter   

Sean Hoban led members of the GEO BON GCWG to analyze 114 Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) National Reports for genetic diversity monitoring and management topics. To improve genetic and biodiversity monitoring, additional awareness, reporting and use of indicators is needed, especially for wild species. (Paper and policy briefs in 13 languages here).   
- GCWG members led a review of the new field of
macrogenetics” in Nature Reviews Genetics. The rapidly emerging field of macrogenetics analyzes numerous species in publicly accessible genetic datasets to explore large-scale patterns and biodiversity predictors. Conservation implications  and future biodiversity applications are discussed. (press release here). 
- Sean Hoban led a genetic biodiversity monitoring review and described recent progress in tracking this "hidden biodiversity” and the need for the development of a post-2020 CBD Goal and Target.  Uptake of genetic diversity can improve global biodiversity strategies, including IPBES, SDG, Global Strategy for Plant Conservation, and UN Decade on Ocean Science.  
o    This garnered a range of press coverage globally including:  
EurekAlert, a science news aggregator site for journalists (also
Australian National University (also tweeted
Stockholm University (also tweeted
INRAE (France agricultural research agency, in French) (also tweeted

At the IUCN World Conservation Congress (3-11 September, 2021), the GEO BON GCWG co-lead Sean Hoban hosted a Knowledge, Innovation and Technology Thematic Session in collaboration with Spygen titled, "How to improve biodiversity monitoring and conservation using DNA technologies, from genes to communities." The session covered how intraspecific genetic diversity is important for nature resilience, climate change, and species’ survival.
Session speakers discussed ongoing
initiatives, including IUCN Specialist Groups and GEO BON for improving genetic diversity monitoring. GCWG co-lead Margaret Hunter moderated the session and delivered the introductory presentation. Session participants learned about connections of genetic assessment with policy at regional and local scales, and the use of innovative environmental DNA technologies for the detection of whole biodiversity, especially for rare or elusive species.

Climate-influenced nutrient flows and threats to the biodiversity of the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System (BZ-SDG)

Researchers in Belize and USA have joined forces to study the impacts of current and future riverine discharge on the health of the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System, a UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site. This cornerstone of Belize’s Blue Economy is impacted by land use change and climate change. After three years for fieldwork, preliminary results have made their way in various scientific journals.


Mountains – a fragile source of life

Dirk Schmeller, currently holding an Axa Chair for Functional Mountain Ecology, has been a working group leader of GEO BON for several years. He was part of the implementation committee and is now involved in several groups: Species Populations, BON Development and Freshwater BON. Schmeller is the author of a series of five short YouTube movies which highlight the threats to mountains.
In the first episode, he introduces the audience to the mountain environment; the second episode clarifies why mountains are sentinels of transformation; in the third episode, mountain ecosystem services are explained; the fourth episode elucidates species communities and particularly microorganisms in mountains; finally, the fifth episode lays out why fish are a detrimental force in naturally fishless mountains. In concert with his team, he also produced a webinar for the International Mountain Day, clarifying different aspects of mountains, from perception to health and threats to our own well-being. This webinar is in French (without subtitles). 

The growing promise of community-based monitoring
and citizen science

Over recent decades, community-based environmental monitoring (often called "co-created citizen science") has exploded in popularity. A special section in BioScience examines the potential for such efforts, including also a link between Indigenous Knowledge and citizen science, and makes recommendations for future directions. 


Biology students make lemonade out of pandemic lemons

Students and biodiversity scientists whose research was upended by the pandemic held an online data-thon to attach dates and locations to the world’s largest genomic database, thus improving accessibility of genetic data from wild animal and plant species.
Many people know that scientists measure the biodiversity of an ecosystem by estimating the total number of different species present. Biodiversity can be used as an indicator of the health of the ecosystem because many species can provide many different ecosystem services, including converting sunlight into sugar, forming soils, cycling nutrients, cleaning air and water, and pollination. Having many species also builds redundancy into ecosystems, which can help to prevent collapses.


Soil biodiversity in horticultural agriculture

– call for data

by Victoria Burton

The Excalibur consortium is funded from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme and brings together 16 partners across Europe to gain a better understanding of the effects of horticultural practices and treatments on soil biodiversity. 
As well as field trials of how bioinoculants affect three crops (strawberries, tomatoes, and apples) and native soil biodiversity, we are developing statistical models to estimate how contrasting agricultural management practices and bioinoculants affect soil biodiversity, and test whether these effects are consistent among taxonomic groups.
We invite holders of relevant data to contribute them to the database - all contributions will be acknowledged appropriately, and contributors will be offered co-authorship of the database. We seek studies that sampled soil biodiversity in at least two different land uses or management, including one or more horticultural crops, using a consistent method. All taxa are welcome, e.g., insects, other arthropods, annelids, fungi, microbes. 
If you have appropriate data that you would be willing to share, or wish to discuss further, please contact Dr. Victoria Burton ( 

Excalibur participated at 
Organic World Congress 2021

by the Excalibur team

Between September 6-10, 2021, some 2,500+ organic stakeholders, farmers, researchers, and policymakers have addressed questions around resilience, societal transformation, health, and food sovereignty during the world’s largest organic gathering. The #OWC2021 has offered a truly global, diverse space that inspires positive change through knowledge exchange, learning, and the formulation of organic, sustainable solutions, for a better tomorrow for all. With more than 450 contributions about research in organic farming, forums on different aspects of organic production (policy, certification, education, etc.) the programme was as rich and engaging as the movement it reflects!

Excalibur project could not lose the occasion to present itself and the work done to support the implementation of practices that cover the core concepts of organic agriculture such as improving biodiversity, reducing external inputs, caring for soil fertility and health.

Poster available here.

by Jessica Junker
We are proud to announce that EuropaBON was featured in a recent article in Nature: "The world’s species are playing musical chairs: how will it end?" The article highlights the complex nature of measuring biodiversity and the difficulties in interpreting observed biodiversity changes at various scales. The article presents EuropaBON and describes in more detail its main objectives and methodological approaches to monitor, model and interpret biodiversity change across Europe to effectively inform and evaluate policy over the coming years.


1) Bonney, R. (2021). Expanding the Impact of Citizen Science. BioScience, 71(5), 448-451.

2) Danielsen, F., Enghoff, M., Poulsen, M.K., Funder, M., Jensen, P.M., & Burgess, N. D. (2021). The Concept, Practice, Application, and Results of Locally Based Monitoring of the Environment. BioScience, 71(5), 484-502.

3) DeWoody, J.A., Harder H., Mathur, S. & Willoughby, J. (2021). The long-standing significance of genetic diversity in conservation. Molecular Ecology 30(17), 4147–4154.

4) Eicken, H., Danielsen, F., Sam, J.M., Fidel, M., Johnson, N., Poulsen, M.K. & Enghoff, M. (2021). Connecting top-down and bottom-up approaches in environmental observing. BioScience, 71(5), 467-483.

5) Johnson, N., Druckenmiller, M.L., Danielsen, F., & Pulsifer, P.L. (2021). The use of digital platforms for community-based monitoring. BioScience, 71(5), 452-466.

6) Mathur, S.,  DeWoody, J.A. (2021). Genetic load has potential in large populations but is realized in small inbred populations.  Evolutionary Applications 14(6),1540-1557.

7) Noriega, J.A., March-Salas, M., Castillo, S., García-Q, H., Hortal, J. & Santos, A.M.C. (2021). Human perturbations reduce dung beetle diversity and dung removal ecosystem function. Biotropica 53(3), 753-766.

8) Schmeller, D.S., Bridgewater, P. (2021). The eighth plenary of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES-8): online, nexus, and transformative change. Biodiversity and Conservation 30, 2857–2862.

9) Sharma, S.B., Thivakaran, G.A., Thakkar, M.G. (2021). The game changing role of traditional ecological knowledge based Agri amendment systems in nutrient dynamics in the stress prone semi arid tropics. Scientific Reports 11 (1), 1-10.

10) Tengö, M., Austin, B. J., Danielsen, F., & Fernández-Llamazares, Á. (2021). Creating synergies between citizen science and Indigenous and local knowledge. BioScience, 71(5), 503-518.

11) Thornton, J.M., Palazzi, E., Pepin, N.C., Cristofanelli, P., Essery, R., Kotlarski, S., Giuliani, G., Guigoz, Y., Kulonen, A., Li, X., Pritchard, D., Fowler, H.J., Randin, C.F., Shahgedanova, M., Zebisch, M. and Adler. (2021) Towards a definition of Essential Mountain Climate Variables. One Earth. 4(6), 805-827.

Click here for an article summary.

12) Toczydlowski, R.H., Liggins, L., Gaither, M.R., Anderson, T.J., Barton, R.L., Berg, J.T., Beskid S.G., Davis, B., Delgado, A., Farrell, E., Ghoojaei, M., Himmelsbach, N., Holmes, A.E., Queeno, S.R., Trinh, T., Weyand, C.A., Bradburd, G.S., Riginos, C., Toonen, R.J., & Crandall, E.D. (2021). Poor data stewardship will hinder global genetic diversity surveillance. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 118 (34),e2107934118.


Post-doctoral position

Dr. Carsten Meyer is looking to fill a postdoctoral position in his research group at iDiv (Leipzig, Germany). Project title: ‘Mapping global impacts of wood-harvesting dynamics on vertebrate biodiversity.’  For more information, please see here

Call for contributions: Biodiversity and Conservation
special issue on transformative change

At the eighth plenary of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES-8), the nexus and transformative changes assessments scoping documents were accepted. Consequently, Biodiversity and Conservation is calling for contributions to a special issue on transformative change in time for the next plenary session in April 2022. Contributions should focus on how to enable nature conservation to be fit for purpose allowing for the co-existence of people and biodiversity at large. For all those interested to contribute, please get in touch with:
Dirk Schmeller (
Peter Bridgewater  ( 

UN Ocean Decade: new call for Decade Actions 

The UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (The Ocean Decade) has issued its second call for Actions (Programmes, Projects, Contributions – see here).

MarineBON and its partners invite proposals that highlight synergies with Marine Life 2030 (, a Programme endorsed by the Ocean Decade. Synergies may include explicit linkages with several other Ocean Decade Programmes that focus on the relationship and mutual relevance of people and marine life, including the Ocean Biomolecular Ocean Observing Network, Ocean Practices, Programmes relevant to fisheries, Early Career Ocean Professionals, Ocean Acidification Research for Sustainability, SMARTNET, Global Ocean Oxygen Decade, OASIS, the deep ocean Programmes, ForeSea, and others.

Interested people/groups can take a look at these suggestions from Marine Life 2030. For more information, contact Joana Soares, MBON Executive Secretary (

GEO-Microsoft Planetary Computer Programme: new call for proposals

What it is: The new platform is a catalog of global environmental data with intuitive Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and applications.
Who is eligible: the entire GEO community and/or Participating Organizations, who will employ the Planetary Computer to apply Earth observations to address environmental challenges, for 12-month sponsored projects.
Intrigued?  Click
here for more information.
Deadline: October 25, 2021.

GEO Art Competition
What do you See, Hear and Feel living in your community? How do you connect with nature? Send your art before November 15 to enter the GEO Art Competition. Click here for more information.


United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 26) : October 31 to November 12, 2021

GEO Mountains Workshop: Inter- and transdisciplinary mountain data across Central Asia: Identifying user requirements and access preferences: October 28, 2021 

OBIS webinar on genetic data: October 28, 2021  

GEO Week : November 23-26

GEO Mountains General Meeting 2021: November 30, 2021

International conference of GIScience: Basis and Trans/Interdisciplinary Applications: December 12, 2021 (Language: English; Deadline for abstracts: November 21, 2021)

SBSTTA 24, SBI 3 and WG2020-3: January 12-28, 2022 in Geneva, Switzerland.


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