Acquisition, validation, quality control and access to (biodiversity) data: a FixO3 training course for less experienced users of data products

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Herman Hummel

NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research

A fully-funded training course on data products was held on 14 and 15 June 2016 in Vlissingen, the Netherlands organized by Herman Hummel and Joke van Houte of the Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ), with help from Sarah Faulwetter (HCMR), Nicolas Bailly (HCMR, Fishbase), Matt Frost (MBA), Pieter Provoost (OBIS, IODE), and Sander Wijnhoven (NIOZ, EcoAuthor).

Participants and lecturers to the FixO3 training workshop at Vlissingen

Participants and lecturers to the FixO3 training workshop at Vlissingen, the Netherlands, 14-15 June 2016. (photograph by J. van Houte)

The course was designed to introduce less experienced users to methods and techniques for processing biodiversity data, integrating physico-chemical and biodiversity data, and delivering data products that may be required to meet policy needs such as GES descriptors.

The course instructors were all experts in the field of data management and marine observation of biodiversity and they trained nineteen international participants through a series of lectures on theory, practical examples, and hands-on sessions. The participants had been selected out of seventy applicants from twenty-nine countries all over the world.

The theoretical and practical classes included introductions to scientific FixO3 Page 9 Newsletter 2015: Volume 3 Issue 1 Herman Hummel NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research concepts and theoretical models; examples on the practical use of biodiversity and environmental data in the frame of European research projects and global programmes; an overview of data repositories and current statistical packages; hands-on sessions on data treatment and analyses, using the (previously explained) repositories and packages; and finally an overview of the use of biodiversity data in policy and legislation.

The participants valued the training course unanimously as well organized and very useful, and rated it with a very good to excellent score. The quality of the lectures and the venue were judged excellent. The friendly atmosphere during the course encouraged interactions among the participants and with the trainers. Several participants stated they wished the course lasted longer.

The beach of Vlissingen under a raincloud

The beach of Vlissingen under a raincloud (© V. Macovei 2016)

The participants will use the acquired knowledge to improve their work and research as they now have the tools to handle complex oceanographic datasets on biodiversity and environmental factors, and are now better able to test hypotheses in their projects and to solve practical problems with mathematical and statistical programs.

Altogether, the organizers, lecturers as well as the participants to the FixO3 training workshop in Vlissingen enjoyed an eminent, pleasant and instructive event.