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Horizon Prizes

Take a look at the Horizon Prizes web site to see which challenge you might take up ...

• Better use of Antibiotics • Breaking the optical transmission barriers
• Materials for clean air • Collaborative Spectrum Sharing • Food scanner

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 carton of wild mushrooms

Picking your moments: the science behind foraging in forests

Forests are not just a source of timber; mushrooms, berries, nuts and other gifts of nature play an important role in the bio-economy of forest regions and science is making a significant contribution to the exploitation of these rich resources.

Photo of a full-scale fish farm in Norway

EU research helps fish farmers become more competitive

Aquaculture holds the promise of reducing the need to catch wild fish. Global demand for fish is increasing, putting many species in danger from overfishing. Fish farming, or aquaculture, is taking some of the pressure off these stocks - half of the fish consumed globally is now produced at fish farms.

 

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