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International Day for Biological Diversity: EU Research

The United Nations has proclaimed May 22 The International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB) to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues.

Biodiversity is the complex web of life on Earth, incorporating humans and our social and economic systems. The number of life-forms on Earth is unknown, but it may be some 20–30 million species, of which only about 1.8 million are known to science. Biodiversity can be studied at the level of the whole planet or confined to a mountain lake. However, whatever the level, the organisms interact in a complex, dynamic manner – both among themselves and with the non-living environment they share. Animals, plants and micro-organisms are a vital resource for humans, forming important elements in many processes on which we depend. .

European research is directed towards assessing and forecasting changes in biodiversity and understanding the dynamics of ecosystems, particularly marine ecosystems. The relationships between the environment, the society and the economy are analysed in order to identify – and mitigate – potentially harmful effects on the environment and on human health and society. Risk assessments based on European research allow us to better manage, conserve and rehabilitate our ecosystems in a sustainable manner for future generations.

Here are two examples of successful, EU-funded biodiversity-related research projects:

Photo of a fisherman

Sea in distress - bringing sustainability to EU fisheries

Our fragile marine ecosystems are under threat. Sustainable use of resources is key to redressing the balance. Enter a network of EU-funding research agencies who have already offered a glimpse of the future of fisheries and aquaculture research.

Photo of sunflower seeds

Sowing the seeds for food security and plant conservation

Climate change is affecting plant life worldwide, with potentially disastrous effects for both wild and agricultural species. EU-funded researchers are studying the impact of higher temperatures and drought on seed quality in order to develop techniques for conserving wild plants, and for ensuring sustainable crop yields.

 

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