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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:

Picture of plastic bottle on the beach

Cleaning up the marine litter that pollutes our oceans

The sea is an important resource for us all. We rely on it for much of our diet. In many cases, our livelihoods depend on it. Robust marine ecosystems are vital both for a healthy planet and also for general human wellbeing.

Photo of a child looking at bees

The Plight of the Pollinators

Pollinators like bumblebees are declining in Europe. What are the causes, the consequences and the possible solutions? Researchers know that the causes are multiple: a combination of habitat loss, pathogens, alien species, agrichemical pollution and even climate change.

 

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