ERCIM News is the official magazine of the European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics, reporting on joint actions by ERCIM partners, highlighting their contributions to the European Community in Information Technology. Its articles provide an opportunity for the exchange of information between institutes and with the wider scientific community as well. Each issue focuses on a special theme identified by the editorial board.
In the first article, Leonardo Candela and Pasquale Pagano (CNR-ISTI) offer a detailed overview of the project, launched by the Directorate-General (DG) for Research and Innovation Unit of the European Commission for establishing a thematic marine cloud serving the blue economy, marine environment and marine knowledge agendas and the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC).
Blue-Cloud links the horizontal e-infrastructures supported by DG CONNECT and DG GROW, long-term marine data initiatives supported by DG MARE, Research Infrastructures supported by DG RTD and other recently funded thematic clouds (such as FNS-Cloud).
Candela and Pagano also provide descriptions of the five Blue-Cloud demonstrators and their main outputs for the marine research and blue economy communities. Our project's framework is not built from scratch; in fact, it is designed to leverage existing and forthcoming data sources, infrastructures, and services operated by a range of providers under different settings. It will offer a unified, yet evolving, working environment that provides access to and use of the aggregated assets, also taking into account the context of the EOSC.
The article proceeds by mentioning the leading European blue data infrastructures involved in Blue-Cloud, as well the Virtual Research Environments (VREs) hosted on the D4Science platform (please find an example here: "Alien and Invasive Species").
Another key feature of the project is the policy-oriented Roadmap to 2030, which will be co-designed involving the wider marine and ICT communities via consultations (the first one taking starting in mid-October). This will be help Blue-Cloud contribute to the future strategic development of the wealth and diverse infrastructures and initiatives for collecting, managing and providing access to marine data.
The second article, written by Yannis Tzitzikas and Yannis Marketakis (ICS-FORTH), delves deeper in the "Fish, a matter of scales" demonstrator (which is going to be presented in a dedicated webinar on 14 October).
Fisheries management is a laborious task that relies on data analysis using complex models and fine-grained software over several sources of information in order to deduce certain facts with the overall aim of improving the sustainability of fisheries. It includes the usually manual process of identifying and combining different parts of information, which is an extremely time-consuming and error-prone process.
This is where the Blue-Cloud demonstrator comes in, building on the successful Global Record of Stocks and Fisheries (GRSF) developed within the context of the Horizon 2020 project BlueBRIDGE. The GRSF brought together information on stocks and fisheries from three distinct data sources: FIRMS from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), RAM Legacy Stock Assessment database and FishSource from the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership.
The proposed workflow outlines steps for harvesting data from the remote data sources, normalising them both syntactically and semantically, going through the entire process needed in order to deliver a concrete set of stocks and fisheries records, ultimately publishing them in a VRE operated within the Blue-Cloud infrastructure, so that experts in fisheries management can assess them.
GRSF can help stakeholders involved in fisheries management achieve a better, more comprehensive and up-to-date view that will facilitate their decision making activities, and this is true for both policy actors such as FAO or governments and for companies in the blue economy sector. Blue-Cloud will provide the ideal framework for the further expansion of the GRSF, including information about the status assessment of fisheries, as well as with fish food and nutrition information.