The overarching goal of the networking activities was to establish strong long-lasting cooperation between the 2 communities (experimental and observational sites) and infrastructure components involved in the project to achieve the long-term vision of the ExpeER integrated infrastructure via 6 work packages :
A range of facilities to study ecosystems have been developed in Europe, but they have been developed independently of each others. In vitro facilities (ecotrons) are extremely expensive to build and maintain, hence it is important that these facilities are well coordinated on a European level to ensure efficient use and complementary with respect to scientific questions, climatic and geographic regions and ecosystem types. Highly instrumented experimental and monitoring field sites are more numerous and represent a large investment. With a coordinated approach such as developed in ExpeER, they will deliver more powerful results. However, a detailed and coherent description of these facilities did not exist in Europe and was needed to develop complementarities and coordination. An in-depth review of the available instrumentation, conditioning systems, methods, experimental designs, coverage of ecosystem types and geographic regions, institutional support and contact points for these facilities was performed in this work package. As a result, a roadmap outlining strategies for synergies and integration of European infrastructure components has been developed to enable a coordinated approach to the implementation of the ExpeER integrated infrastructure both during the project and in the post-funded phase.
Participant involved: INRA - Bioforsk - CNRS - Imperial - Jülich - Rothamsted Research - SYKE
The compilation and comparison of research findings across European ecosystem research facilities is often hampered by non-harmonised and standardised measurement protocols that limit comparability of datasets. While each research site may be able to show strong evidence of ecosystem process shifts at local level, it was difficult or impossible to draw conclusions about the generality of such shifts, or to sum effects across space. This work package took major steps towards addressing this problem by proposing harmonized measurement and sampling methods for a core set of environmental and ecosystem variables across the focal network of participating research sites, so as to allow findings to be compared and generalised, both within the ExpeER network and ultimately to the broader ecosystem research community (WP4).
Participant involved: BGU - CNR - EAA- ERCE - TUM - UB - UFZ - UNITO - UNIVLEEDS - VUA
Information management and access to data is a key feature of a network dealing with experimental, research and monitoring infrastructure and the resulting data. A common domain data model and shared vocabularies - i.e. semantic interoperability - and common distributed system architecture for storing and exchanging data is therefore crucial. This workpackage provided the guidelines, best practice examples and the development of the framework to ensure this service to the consortium.
Participant involved: FDEA-ART - IEB - KIT - NERC - SYKE - UFZ - UNITO
The starting point for ExpeER networking towards an improved infrastructure for terrestrial ecosystem research in the European Research Area are the two original groups merged in ExpeER with the key strengths i) to structure the experimental component of the European ecosystem research at different scales (AnaEE), ii) to test and integrate this component with highly instrumented observational approaches, as well as iii) conceptualise their embedding in large scale ecosystem monitoring schemes (LTER-Europe). But the preparation of a permanent (structural) impact of ExpeER needed to go beyond the limits of the original communities, even if selected top sites of these communities form the backbone of ExpeER action. This work package established links with related infrastructures on the network level, including integration in broad scale site networks (observational power, representativeness), in order to prepare for the post-funded phase of ExpeER and explore options for permanent funding of the ExpeER distributed ecosystem research infrastructures.
Participant involved: INRA - BFW - BGU - CNRS - CSIC - EAA - ERCEFiBL - IEB - NERC - SL TANAP - SYKE - UFZ - UNIUD - UNIVLEEDS - UNS - WSL
A strong communication strategy and plan have be developed to disseminate the ExpeER results to all stakeholders in consultation with the External Advisory group. This work package also established, maintained and updated the general communication tools of ExpeER (website and newsletter) ; and stimulate communication i) between ExpeER work packages and project partners, ii) between ExpeER partners, the Related Sites Group and other end-users to allow discussing, testing and promoting the advancement of ExpeER, and iii) with a broad variety of bodies (international and national institutions, universities) which directly or indirectly are involved in the development of local or national infrastructures.
Participant involved: INRA - CNRS - ERCE - NERC - UFZ - UNITO
30 transnational access (TA) activities opened the ExpeER infrastructures to external users and served also as a means of evaluating the added-value of the ExpeER networking and research activities. This work package was in charge of the management of the TA in setting up the calls for access, managing the call for access during the project and evaluating the calls and access given.
Participant involved: CNR