Member of the

Freshwater Information Platform


Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences

The Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (RBINS)  has a long (more than 150 years) and outstanding track record of integrated investigations in different biogeographical regions. The main expertise of its more than 100 pre- and postdoctoral researchers (40 permanent scientific staff) lies in animal taxonomy, biodiversity and ecology. The group’s research focuses on evolutionary ecology of freshwater meiobenthic organisms and has extensive expertise in classical limnological work on meiobenthos.

The BioFresh team at RBINS closely collaborates with the Belgian Biodiversity Platform, which ensures the hosting of the BioFresh data portal and offers support in terms of IT and networking expertise. The Belgian Biodiversity Platform is a distributed biodiversity information and communication initiative by the Belgian Science Policy (BelSPO). It serves as Belgian node to the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), the European Platform on Biodiversity Science Policy (EPBRS), DIVERSITAS and is involved in the ERA-net BiodivERsA. It develops a database on Belgian biodiversity research resources (BioBel, and coordinates the Freshwater Animal Diversity Assessment project. The BBPF also implements SCAR-MarBIN, the Antarctic marine biodiversity portal of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research. It organizes a yearly call supporting the digitisation of biodiversity information.

Koen Martens

Koen Martens (PhD) has published 11 books, 140+ ISI papers and 310 other contributions on taxonomy, ecology and evolution of non-marine invertebrates. He has successfully co-ordinated a TMR research network and is presently coordinator of a MC-RTN network. He was scientist in charge of previous individual Marie Curie grants. He was co-PI of an EU-INCO project on Lake Malawi, and is promoter of the Belgian Biodiversity at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences. Martens is visiting professor at the University of Ghent (Belgium) and full professor in animal systematics and zoogeography at the University of Amsterdam (The Netherlands, 2003-2004).
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Aaike De Wever

Aaike De Wever (PhD) is Science Officer for the BioFresh project at the RBINS and will coordinate the data workflow and creation of the public data portal. He is the central contact for data providers and will closely collaborate with the teams at BOKU and WorldFish for technical quality control and digitalization of data. Aaike has a background on aquatic microbial ecology in freshwater environments. For his PhD, he studied the microbial food web in Lake Tanganyika and has experience with challenging experimental field work, molecular ecology and data management. After his PhD, he worked on microbial ecology of Antarctic lakes and teledection of benthic micro-algae on intertidal mudflats.
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Hendrik Segers

Hendrik Segers (PhD) coordinates the biodiversity-data related initiatives of the Belgian Biodiversity Platform (BBPF) and as such bears responsibility for the SCAR-MarBIN and FADA projects, the BBPF digitisation project call, and for the strategy of the data module of the BBPF. Recently, he was elected to the council of the Society for the Management of Electronic Biodiversity Data (SMEBD). As a scientist, he published more than 130 contributions, including 70+ in ISI journals, on taxonomy, biogeography and biodiversity of freshwater organism.
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Bos Debusscher

Bos Debusscher (Ir) is IT developer for the BioFresh project at RBINS focusing among others on the user functionalities and mapping interface. He has a particular interest in Geographic Infomation Systems (GIS), visualisation of data and open source projects.
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April 2013 - News

The Issue 06 of the BioFresh Newsletter is out now.

read more and download

Annual BioFresh meeting - News

The 4th annual BioFresh meeting is just around the corner! The focus of this year’s meeting will be on the interface between science and policy and making freshwater biodiversity science more politically influential.

The fourth annual meeting of the BioFresh project will be held next week from April 15-19 in the trendy Germany city of Leipzig. The slogan of this year’s meeting is “BioFresh goes political”, which captures the focus of linking BioFresh science with policy and conservation outcomes. The meeting is a chance for members from our 19 partner organisations of the BioFresh team to get together and assess the progress of the previous 3 years and discuss plans for the final phase of the BioFresh project.

July 2012 - News

The Issue 05 of the BioFresh Newsletter is out now.

read more and download

December 2012 - News

New DAET maps available. The BioFresh contingency fund serves as additional support for non-partner organisations to adapt, complete and submit databases that are of interest for BioFresh.

NATURE paper - News

NATURE paper: Cryptic biodiversity loss linked to global climate change

Climate impacts on biodiversity are usually assessed at the morphospecies level with effects at the genetic level less well studied. Now research into the distribution and mitochondrial DNA variability of nine mountain-dwelling insect species shows that range contractions will be accompanied by severe loss of genetic diversity as the climate warms, implying that conventional assessments may underestimate losses.

Read more on the Nature website

Freshwater: the essence of life - News

Scientists and photographers joined their efforts to publish a large-format illustrated book in the CEMEX conservation book series on “Freshwater: The Essence of Life”.  The book was coordinated by Conservation International and involved scientists from all over the world, including many BioFresh partners.  They contributed to the different chapters drawing a picture of the amazing richness of freshwater ecosystems, and raising awareness on why Earth’s freshwater supplies and systems are in peril. These ecosystems have proved resilient throughout millennia, but in the last few decades, human activities have drastically modified and destroyed them to the point of alarm. The book was launched on December 6th in Cancun at the UNFCCC COP 16.

Freshwater: The essence of life. (2010).Russell A. Mittermeier, Tracy A. Farrell, Ian J. Harrison, Amy J. Upgren, Thomas M. Brooks.  Series editor: Cristina Goettsch Mittermeier

For more information visit the Conservation International website.

A short animation: What is BioFresh? - News

We’re delighted to present a short animation produced by Paul Jepson and colleagues at Oxford University which outlines BioFresh’s work in helping improve the protection and management of global freshwater ecosystems.

View animation

Water lives - News

“Water Lives…” is a new science communication animation designed to draw attention to the important (yet largely invisible) biodiversity which underpins and sustains our freshwater ecosystems. Produced by Rob St.John and Paul Jepson at the School of Geography and the Environment for BioFresh the animation brings artists and scientists together to collaborate and communicate the concept the idea that freshwater is more than an inert resource: instead a living, dynamic system inhabited by beautiful, important organisms largely unseen by the naked eye. “Water Lives…” invites viewers to engage with their freshwater environments, perhaps value them in new ways and engage with how they should be managed [...]

Read more and watch the film on the BioFresh blog

Protect the “Amazon of Europe” - News

Danube’s most valuable and best preserved floodplain system along its entire 2,850 kilometers length is threatened with destruction: the "Kopački Rit" in Croatia. A major project to regulate this unique region is currently in the final stage of decision. If the project becomes reality, the natural Danube will be transformed into a monotonous canal, with fatal consequences for its wildlife: The white-tailed eagle, the black stork and the Danube sturgeon would be in severe danger of extinction.

For more ínformation go to www.amazon-of-europe.com

Interessting blog - News

National Geographic’s Freshwater Initiative "Water Currents is part of the National Geographic Society’s freshwater initiative, a global effort to inspire and empower individuals and communities to conserve freshwater and preserve the extraordinary diversity of life that rivers, lakes, and wetlands sustain..." (from NG's website)

Read more on newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/blog/water-currents/