Date: 27 February 2015
Location: Brussels, DG MARE, Rue Joseph II 79/99 - MARE ROOM J99 05/86 DIR GEN MEETING ROOM
Meeting Chair: David Connor (EC DG ENV)
Iain Shepherd and Richard Bates (DG MARE), Irene Del Barrio and Trine Christiansen (EEA), David Connor, Lydia Martin-Roumegas and Guenter Hoermandinger (DG ENV), Neil Holdsworth (ICES), Andrej Abramic (JRC INSPIRE), Manuel Nicolaus (Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science, UK), Cecile Gözler (Developpement Durable, France), Eoin O’Grady (Marine Institute, Ireland), Niels Kinneging (RWS, Netherlands), Debbie Hembury (DEFRA, UK), Joni Kaitaranta (HELCOM), Emily Corcoran and Chris Moulton (OSPAR), Phil Weaver (EMODnet Steering Committee Chair), Simon Claus (EMODnet Biology), Alessandro Pititto (EMODnet Human Activities), Alessandra Giorgetti, Marine Lipizer and Dick Schaap (EMODnet Chemistry).
The broad objectives of the MSFD-EMODnet coordination meetings were outlined as a mechanism for the portals and their coordinators to understand the needs of MSFD reporting, as carried out by Member States and Regional Sea Conventions (RSC), and for the MSFD reporters to identify ways in which EMODnet can contribute to the process. The meeting is meant to identify opportunities and issues that can be followed up by more detailed correspondence/actions subsequent to the meeting.
The BALSAM project to improve regional monitoring and data accessibility in the Baltic was outlined. It was clear that more data was needed to improve the outputs. At present data was obtained from the Member States though some could potentially be added through EMODnet. The assessment cycle was very complex with many steps to an assessment with QA and QC being critical throughout. Discussion centred on whether EMODnet data had appropriate QA and QC and whether the level of QA and QC could be determined from the metadata. EMODnet data sets include data submitted by the Member States and data from other sources such as scientific research that might have lesser levels of QA/QC. For example information about the laboratory that measured the data is needed as well as the accreditation and ISO quality standards in place. A recommendation was made to include in the EMODnet metadata the necessary information that could identify the data that are suitable for MSFD reporting (typically the data coming from the Member States as a result from environmental monitoring efforts). This would need the Member States and RSC to identify which aspects of metadata are needed to identify if data in EMODnet are of appropriate quality, and for the EMODnet portals to enable filtering according to these parameters. The MESH (Mapping European Seabed Habitats) project data model can serve as an example for possible approaches. A further key issue is to develop easy mechanisms for Member States to get their data into EMODnet (especially if they are not an EMODnet partner). One way would be to stimulate coordination and collaboration at Member State level between the various marine data collectors and data owners, e.g. by establishing national marine/EMODnet data nodes.
This software package had been produced to aid the UK’s national assessment for MSFD. It provides an online assessment system to integrate data from different sources to assess the marine ecosystem threats and (health) status. Originally designed to assess eutrophication it can also be used for pelagic indicators and large fish indicators. Trials are underway to adapt it for seabirds and marine litter. In discussion it was mentioned that a proposal had been made to Horizon 2020 by the chemistry portal to use EMECO to provide outputs based on chemistry data. The question of QA/QC was again raised and it was agreed that a dialogue would be needed to make sure that data products from EMODnet would fit the full MSFD requirements, including interoperability with MS/RSC systems.
An updated EMODnet Chemistry Portal now has information on monitoring stations with examples of data from different sea basins. Data can be plotted by area, vertical profile, or time series on a seasonal basis. Nutrient data are available and contaminant data are being worked on. The discussions focussed among others on what contaminant compounds should be presented using what standards. By 2016 Data-Interpolating Variational Analysis (DIVA) maps would be available on dissolved oxygen, acidity, chlorophyll and local/coastal maps of contaminants in sediments. It was questioned whether multiple data sets collected at the same time and place, but placed in different portals, could be recombined e.g. biology and chemistry. It was highly recommended to carry out a gap analysis to show what data sets are important but currently not included in EMODnet Chemistry. In terms of reporting on MSFD, much of the chemistry data plus the contaminant data were already well organised within OSPAR and HELCOM (via the ICES data centre). This may make it difficult for EMODnet to make an impact. However, EMODnet may have a more useful role in the Mediterranean where these outputs are less well organised. It is therefore important for the EMODnet chemistry portal to engage in a dialogue with major users and to focus efforts where their products can have the greatest impact. OSPAR and HELCOM will maintain a dialogue with the chemistry portal to maximise the usefulness of any products and prevent wasted effort, for example by inviting EMODnet Chemistry to relevant RSC meetings to promote interaction at a suitable technical level. It would be helpful for the Chemistry portal to understand the data products used by OSPAR and HELCOM as these could be of benefit to the other regions and provide Europe-wide perspectives. The Secretariat would be available to receive specific requests from the RSC (or others) and pass these on to appropriate portal coordinators and to keep track of progress of these requests plus any recommendations made by this group.
The EMODnet Biology portal is based on the EurOBIS database with additional data from national monitoring and science. Videos of species change with time, based on the DIVA software, are available for cod in the North Sea and the non-indigenous worm Marezellaria in the Baltic Sea. A workshop will be held in March 2015 to identify other products. The portal will provide some data to ICES e.g. information on 6 species of planktonic copepod. The portal contributes to the World Register of Introduced Marine Species (WRIMS). Links have been made to the Marine Information Schema being developed for the EEA and DG ENV that will feed into WISE-Marine at the biodiversity data level by reviewing data standards for MSFD biodiversity data which would be in line with EMODnet biology portal standards (Darwin-Core). OSPAR and HELCOM both agreed that the biology portal could provide useful products for their MSFD reporting. Much work needs to be done in 2015 including testing of bio-indicators. Both OSPAR and HELCOM will maintain an ongoing dialogue with EMODnet Biology, including identification of specific test indicators to demonstrate how EMODnet could support RSC work, and will report back to the Secretariat on progress. It is hoped that OSPAR can provide a talk to the EMODnet jamboree in October on progress and/or plans to work together in this area.
A demonstration of the portal was provided. It was stressed that this was a new addition to the EMODnet family that was still accumulating basic data. In discussion the problem of taking data sets from one source (e.g. OSPAR) and losing information when they were harmonised within EMODnet was raised. This problem arises when multiple data sets with varying parameters are combined. It was suggested that explanations were provided on many pages to inform users that the data sets were not necessarily comprehensive i.e. were “works in progress”. More metadata may need to be provided to make the data more useful. It was suggested that ways of aiding the assessment of “pressure indicators” within MSFD would be useful. A suggestion was made to establish a project to examine use cases of relevance to MSFD for a particular sea basin and to use this to identify gaps and ways forward. Funding would be needed for such a project. Both OSPAR and HELCOM were collecting data on human uses and both welcomed the potential to work with EMODnet in this area. A dialogue with the portal coordinators had begun and would continue.