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Development and maintenance of the European Marine Observation and Data Network – Former Lot No 6 - Biology (EMODNET-IV)

Main research question/goal

EMODNET (in full: European Marine Observation and Data Network) has the task of studying the seas and unlocking the data according to international standards, for researchers, governments and private companies. These data are often characterized by their limited size in space and time, i.e., they are frequently fragmented into small datasets for certain types of groups or habitats. In phase IV of the EMODNET process, continuity is provided in the expansion and maintenance of this portal. Besides the addition of datasets, there is also a strong focus on creating exchangeable data products tailored to the various stakeholders. It follows the (money saving) principle "Collect once and use many times ". As a Belgian partner in EMODNET, ILVO places its ecological marine data on the Belgian Part of the North Sea on the official European portal site. In this way, they are available for consultation and data mining. ILVO has monitoring data since 1978, from benthos, epibenthos and demersal fish fauna.

Research approach

ILVO is involved in work packages 2 and 5 of EMODNET IV. On the biology portal, the neatly processed ILVO biodiversity data on the Belgian Part of the North Sea are systematically made available. ILVO structures for data storage will be further developed in order to be able to perform the process from data collection to data extraction in a performant and qualitative way. In addition, we work in WP5 to increase the outreach of this portal and its products through a thorough consultation with stakeholders. The development of this data portal is coordinated by the Flemish Institute for the Sea (VLIZ).


Marine biodiversity data are essential to determine and monitor the health of the ecosystem in maritime areas (for instance, the North Sea and Baltic Sea). The fragmentation of marine data (per institute, country, etc.) severely hinders the ability to make evaluations on a larger scale. An overarching data portal with biological data has an obvious added value for policy. In addition, this is also useful in terms of the European environmental guidelines, which seek to evaluate the state of health of all ecosystems and for entire marine areas.

Date:20 Apr 2021 →  Today