Monitoring & Observations, Scenarios and Models,
and Supporting Assessment Bodies.
Activities are geared towards achieving synthesis of existing science, leading to e.g. development of new indicators or scenarios; and catalysis of new knowledge, leading to the development of new approaches and methodologies.
This is done through the creation of a scientific network and the coordination of research; by connecting researchers and integrating methodologies, thus adding value to existing research.
Activities are structured under 3 components –
Monitoring & Observations, Scenarios and Models, and Supporting Assessment Bodies.
Structure of the bioDISCOVERY science plan with its three components and their relationship
to policy and decision support. Integrative scientific activities form the basis for the activities within the components.
Arrows indicate the flow of information.
OBSERVATIONS AND INDICATORS
Time series of observations help us to track the responses of species, communities, and ecosystems to environmental change. They provide insight into the mechanisms underpinning observed responses to global change, and in that way, contribute to improving models and scenarios of biodiversity and ecosystems.
We can use earth observations to obtain measures of taxonomic, functional and structural diversity at various spatial and temporal scales. Remote sensing allows assessment of ecosystem properties that underpin the supply of ecosystem services. Remote sensing of biodiversity variables can also help to close gaps in observation data collected on the ground and provide global spatial assessments of select traits.
SCENARIOS AND MODELS
Projections of future ecosystem and biodiversity change are limited by incomplete understanding of the underlying processes, as well as the insufficiency of available modelling tools, and a lack of data to validate and parameterise models. Computational ecology is a key emerging field that can provide projections of biodiversity change. Current models, however, exclude many important biological processes that shape species’ responses to environmental change. We thus need modelling approaches that integrate biodiversity composition and ecosystem function, and account for the interactions between the two. This approach facilitates testing for interactions between composition and function, and projecting biodiversity and ecosystem futures more realistically. Existing global change scenarios are often dominated by climatic shifts, whereas ecological dynamics are not well integrated into most modelling frameworks. To improve projections of biodiversity and ecosystem change, we need models that account for a broad range of global-change drivers to explore the future of biodiversity. Furthermore, multi-model comparison approaches have highlighted the benefit of incorporating information from model ensembles based on different assumptions and driver interactions.
SUPPORTING ASSESSMENT BODIES
Setting environmental policies and making management decisions can be informed by scenarios and models derived from robust input data. We also need appropriate indicator frameworks to measure both the positive and negative impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem function. The more rigorous the models, inputs, and scenarios, the clearer and stronger will be the messages conveyed by the scientific community to decision-makers. Spatial scale is at the crux of this challenge; observations, models, and indicators all need to address the interface between local management and global policy. If well integrated, there can be abundant synergies with IPBES, IPCC, and sustainable development agendas.
Efforts of the bioDISCOVERY scientific community have brought about key contributions to the Convention on Biological Diversity, in particular into the Global Biodiversity Outlook, but also the visioning process for the 2020 Aichi Targets. Contributions to the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) have focussed on knowledge generation for use in the various assessments, for example the synthesis of information for indicators, and supporting the work of the IPBES Technical Support Unit and expert group on scenarios.