ZSL Symposium on Remote Sensing for Conservation

22nd and 23rd of May 2014, Zoological Society of London, UK

This symposium will illustrate how integrative approaches allow a better ecological understanding of the mechanisms shaping current changes in biodiversity patterns, while triggering innovative approaches, new research directions in remote sensing science and the development of new remote sensing products. It will also demonstrate how ecological knowledge and satellite-based information on environmental conditions can be effectively combined to address a wide array of current conservations needs. By bringing together a range of stakeholders spanning academic experts in remote sensing and ecology, conservation NGOs to policy makers and space agency representatives, it will finally highlight how knowledge exchange is at the heart of the future development of both disciplines.

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Mapping wind energy in Africa

The IRENA Global Atlas is pleased to release the wind map of Africa. The map was developed by the Spanish Renewable Energy Research Center (CENER – www.cener.com). The map displays the average annual wind speed calculated at 10km resolution and 10 m height over the entire continent for the period 01/2008 – 12/2012.
·         The continental and individual country maps can be accessed at:: http://irena.masdar.ac.ae/?map=422
·         The continental map is available at: http://irena.masdar.ac.ae/?map=178

Can ecosystems protect Europe’s coastline?

Source: Science for Environment Policy

Nearly a third of the EU’s coastline has insufficient protection from erosion and flooding, according to recent research. The study presents a method for assessing coastal ecosystems’ capacity to provide vital protection from these threats, and highlights the need to protect key habitats which safeguard coastal resilience.

Despite the importance of ecosystems in providing coastal protection, planning authorities often neglect this natural capital, partly because it is difficult to map and assess such services. In this study, partly-funded under the EU PEGASO project, researchers provide a map of natural coastal protection across the EU’s entire coastline.

The researchers identified three key indicators to assess levels of natural coastal protection. The first is ‘capacity’, defined as the natural potential of an area to provide protection, excluding artificial structures. This includes factors such as geology and seabed habitats.

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Coral Triangle Atlas

Source: Coral Triangle Atlas

The Coral Triangle Atlas (CT Atlas) is an online GIS database, providing governments, NGOs and researchers with a view of spatial data at the regional scale. Data on fisheries, biodiversity, natural resources, and socioeconomics have been collected for decades by scientists and managers working in different parts of the Coral Triangle region. However, to date, little of this information has been aggregated into region-wide layers to provide an overview and support management planning and decision-making at a regional level.

Conserving the Coral Triangle

This CT Atlas project will improve the efficiency of management and conservation planning in the region by giving researchers and managers access to spatial information while encouraging them to share their data to complete the gaps, therefore reducing duplicate data collection efforts and providing the most complete and most current data available. The CT Atlas will be particularly useful in the design and planning of MPAs and MPA Networks throughout the region.

Thus, the expansion of the CT Atlas project will improve conservation by:

  1. Giving scientists and decision makers a vision of ecological processes beyond political boundaries
  2. Providing the building blocks to use Spatial Decision Support Systems (SDSS) such as MARXAN for marine conservation planning.
  3. Avoiding duplication of efforts, enabling valuable time and resources to be most effectively allocated

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Marine Strategy Framework Directive Reporting – Metadata Tool

As agreed by Marine Directors in November 2012 and discussed at WG DIKE 18-19 March 2013, an add-on tool for the MSFD reporting Access database has been developed for use by those Member States who wish to fulfill their obligations under MSFD Article 19(3) through the ‘metadata catalogue’ option. This add-on tool to capture metadata on data (or datasets or data products) resulting from the MSFD Article 8 initial assessment is now available along with an installation guidance at


Those Member States who have advised the Commission on alternative ways in which they will fulfill their obligations under Art. 19(3) in full do not need to use this add-on tool. Some Member States may choose to use the tool for only part of this requirement (e.g. where they have used a mixture of data and literature for their initial assessment).

The Commission recommends the additional information for Art. 19(3) is provided together with completion of the non-priority fields (i.e. by 15 April) or with any final updates of the priority fields (i.e. by 30 April) as this could be most efficient for Member States in the process for uploading files to ReportNet.

Please do not hesitate to contact the helpdesk if you have any inquiries related to the MSFD reporting


Mette Wolstrup
Project Manager

NASA’s Aquarius Sees Salty Shifts

Source: NASA

NASA has released the first full year of validated ocean surface salinity data from the agency’s Aquarius instrument aboard the Aquarius/SAC-D spacecraft. The data cover the period from Dec. 2011 through Dec. 2012. Red colors represent areas of high salinity, while blue shades represent areas of low salinity. Among the prominent salinity features visible in this view are the large area of highly saline water across the North Atlantic. This area, the saltiest anywhere in the open ocean, is analogous to deserts on land, where little rainfall and much evaporation occur. Aquarius is a focused effort to measure ocean surface salinity and will provide the global view of salinity variability needed for climate studies. The mission is a collaboration between NASA and the Space Agency of Argentina (Comisión Nacional de Actividades Espaciales).

The colorful images chronicle the seasonal stirrings of our salty world: Pulses of freshwater gush from the Amazon River’s mouth; an invisible seam divides the salty Arabian Sea from the fresher waters of the Bay of Bengal; a large patch of freshwater appears in the eastern tropical Pacific in the winter. These and other changes in ocean salinity patterns are revealed by the first full year of surface salinity data captured by NASA’s Aquarius instrument.

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second call for access to the JERICO Coastal Observatories and Calibration Facilities is open

The second call for access to the JERICO Coastal Observatories and Calibration Facilities is open from 14 January 2013 to 18 March 2013 with activities scheduled to start in the early summer of 2013 subsequent to a formal screening and selection process.
The JERICO project is offering access to different ferrybox lines in the Baltic Sea, the Greater North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, various networks of fixed platforms and other single fixed point installations (buoys, towers, shore stations and underwater installations), and glider fleets based in the Greater North Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. Calibration laboratories are also being put up for access.
This is a unique opportunity for scientists and engineers to avail of high-quality, interlinked instrumented infrastructures operating in coastal and shelf-sea areas for carrying out research and/or testing activities.
Interested users can request access to one or more facilities. JERICO will provide them with technical assistance, travel support and often many core measurements that may be necessary to their work. Visitors and projects will be selected on the basis of the quality and novelty of the proposed activities.