Biodiversity Digital Twin for Advanced Modelling, Simulation and Prediction Capabilities

With our planet facing an increasing reduction in biodiversity, it is of the utmost importance to understand the influence of climate change and human activities on biodiversity and how these effects can be mitigated. Biodiversity provides essential resources and services that we use and that directly impact human well-being including food, nutrients, and energy resources, as well as being critical to ecosystem functioning and health. Understanding the forces shaping biodiversity is the basis for any rational management of natural resources. In particular, there is a need to be able to better predict biodiversity dynamics: how species interact with their environment and with each other.

The BioDT project aims to push the current boundaries of predictive understanding of biodiversity dynamics by developing a Biodiversity Digital Twin (BioDT) prototype platform providing advanced modelling, simulation and prediction capabilities. By exploiting in new ways existing technologies and data available across relevant research infrastructures, digital twins developed as part of the project will be able to more accurately model interactions between species and their environment. Scientists at research infrastructures will be able to:

better observe changes in biodiversity in response to forces resulting from climate change or human activity
mechanistically understand how these changes occur
predict the effects of these changes
Overall, the BioDT project will provide a crucial infrastructure to drive long-term biodiversity research and facilitate science-driven policy and rapid-response actions to enforce current commitments to protecting biodiversity in the long term.

Eight use cases clustered in four groups will be at the core of the Biodiversity Digital Twin prototype. These use cases focus on the species and ecosystems of highest conservation and policy concern, such as threatened species, pollinators, and grasslands, and are vital to the well-being of mankind and biodiversity conservation efforts.

  • Group 1 – Species response to environmental change
  • Group 2 – Genetically detected biodiversity
  • Group 3 – Dynamics and threats from and for species of policy concern
  • Group 4 – Species interactions with each other and with humans

Comprised of 22 partners, the BioDT consortium brings together a dynamic team of experts in biodiversity, high performance computing, artificial intelligence, digital twinning and FAIR data to develop several Biodiversity Digital Twin prototypes. It combines the unique potential of the flagship EuroHPC LUMI computing infrastructure with the scientific expertise and existing biodiversity data from four major research infrastructures: GBIF – the Global Biodiversity Information Facility, eLTER – the European Long-Term Ecosystem, critical zone and socio-ecological Research Infrastructure, DiSSCo – Distributed System of Scientific Collections, and LifeWatch ERIC – the e-Science European Infrastructure for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research.

CSC is responsible for coordinating the BioDT project as well as setting up, developing and operating the required technical platform leveraging LUMI’s high performance computing, AI and data analytics capabilities.

As part of BioDT, CSC will also contribute to topics including:

  • gathering, translating and combining the existing European and global biodiversity data necessary to carry out the modelling applications across the different use cases
  • upscaling, implementing and testing the predictive capacity of digital twins, as well as applying digital twins to scenario simulations, predictions and biomonitoring
  • creating an expert network to ensure the interoperability of data and software across the research infrastructures involved.

Further to these topics, CSC will be involved in ensuring the uptake of the Biodiversity Digital Twin prototype by research infrastructures and its integration into communities’ workflows and platforms. As part of this, a key objective will be to align BioDT with other related initiatives and programmes, in particular Destination Earth (DestinE) and the European Data Infrastructures such as EOSC, GaiaX and EuroHPC.