| EU project highlights: MGE and BASIN

Bringing together marine genomics research

There are numerous projects and networks of excellence (NoE) in Europe and around the world working to obtain a better picture and understanding of marine genomics, or the study of the DNA of marine life. The ultimate goal of MGE was to create a long-lasting network capable of creating and implementing effect genomic approaches in marine biology.

To create an effective network of marine genomics, three priorities were identified by MGE:

  • maintain scientific coordination and establish and educational programme
  • support common infrastructure and common databases
  • back joint research programmes

To insure the MGE NoE remains effective, it took steps to sustain the coordination of the consortium, including maintaining the website, newsletter, workshops and meetings. Researchers also established a European PhD programme in Marine System Biology with the end goal of implementing an independent PhD programme recognised in Europe and abroad. Furthermore, there was a push towards the implementation of common infrastructures and joint research programmes.

Since its creation in 2004, the MGE NoE has brought together 45 institutions and some 150 externally funded collaborations have been initiated and carried out by MGE NoE members. It is clear that the NoE has make great strides in integrating and promoting collaboration in the marine genomics community.

Understanding the North Atlantic ecosystem

The main objective of the BASIN Specific Support Action was to develop a joint EU North American research programme in the field of ocean ecosystems supporting the Global Earth Observation System of Systems initiative. To this end, BASIN organised four workshops which identified state-of-the-art marine ecosystem research in the North Atlantic Basin and assessed the feasibility of a joint EU–North American research collaboration to further this research.

Critically participants identified that by creating a joint programme, the EU, together with the USA and Canada, could better assess, predict and mitigate the impact of climate and man-made problems on the North Atlantic. To this end BASIN researchers developed an implementation plan as a basis for the development of jointly funded international plans.. The project aims to:

  • simulate the population structure and dynamics of important plankton and fish species in the North Atlantic
  • understand the impact of climate variability on marine ecosystems and feedbacks
  • develop models to advance ocean management.

Through the series of trans-Atlantic meetings, researchers determined the overarching goal of BASIN should be to understand and simulate the impact of climate variability and change of biogeochemically and trophically important species of plankton and fish as well as the community structures as a whole found in the North Atlantic. Researchers also propose to examine the consequences of changes in ecosystem structure for carbon and nutrient cycling and related feedbacks in order to improve ocean management.

Breathing life into policy-making

EnVIE succeeded in bringing all relevant stakeholders together to exchange experience through conferences and workshops and to discuss the issue of indoor air quality and its health impact in relation to existing policies. The project showed that there is a need for harmonisation of efforts, in particular concerning source control on all potential paths for indoor air pollution and concerning exposure assessment. It proposed improvements to existing policies regarding IAQ. It also suggested and contributed to a prospective Green Paper on IAQ policy for the EU: this major outcome should enable an objective dialogue among all relevant stakeholders, the European Parliament and the European Commission.