BioDT to advance research capabilities for biodiversity protection and restoration

GBIF supports global-scale work of European consortium developing the Biodiversity Digital Twin, a supercomputer-powered modelling prototype

Aquarius remigis-iNat-iamlivy-hero
Common water strider (Aquarius remigis), observed in the United States. Photo 2020 iamlivy via iNaturalist Research-grade Observations, licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0.

A 22-partner consortium led by the Finnish CSC - IT Center for Science aims to push the current boundaries of predictive understanding of biodiversity dynamics by developing a Biodiversity Digital Twin (BioDT), a cutting-edge infrastructure that provides advanced modelling, simulation and prediction capabilities for long-term biodiversity research .

“BioDT is will be flagship project as one of the first European-wide research initiatives to benefit from access to the EuroHPC LUMI supercomputer,” said Jesse Harrison, CSC's project manager for BioDT. “This infrastructure will directly improve researchers' ability to address global challenges connected to biodiversity loss and the climate crisis, like food security, disease outbreaks, and changes to key species of policy concern.”

BioDT intends to strengthen researchers' predictions about the dynamics of global biodiversity and how species interact with their environment and with each other. Producing accurate quantitative analyses is extremely difficult due to the complexity of the processes involved. But understanding the forces shaping biodiversity is critical to managing natural resources and to meeting the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030's goals for restoring biodiversity in Europe.

By combining existing data and technologies in innovative ways, BioDT will enable modelling and prediction of interaction processes and dynamics between species and their environment in ways applicable across domains ranging from environmental, earth and climate sciences to genomics and mathematics. The European-based partnership's data and products will enable modelling at global scale, providing tools for promoting sustainable management of the Earth’s biodiversity and its ecosystems.

Scientists at the participating research infrastructures will use the BioDT to:

  • improve observation of changes in biodiversity in response to climate change or human activity
  • understand the mechanics of how these changes occur
  • predict the effects of these changes

“Improvements to data standardization, access and interoperability continue to shape data-intensive modelling and research in biodiversity informatics,” said Joe Miller, GBIF's executive secretary. “The technological and methodological advances outlined in BioDT will help us enhance the quality, speed and relevance of ecological research data and scale up targeted uses in fundamental and applied science.”

BioDT and its infrastructure will become an integral component of Destination Earth, working toward an ambition to realize a full Digital Twin of the Earth. The long-term objectives of BioDT are also tightly interconnected with the Commission's vision for a robust, federated European computing and data infrastructure, and initiatives such as the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) and European High Performance Computing Joint Undertaking (EuroHPC JU).

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 This project is funded by the European Union.