EcoScope opens registration for gratis Big Marine Data Analytics and Models course this May in Greece

The EU-funded EcoScope project, which promotes ecologically sustainable management for fisheries and marine ecosystems in general, has begun signing up participants for the EcoScope training course on Big Marine Data Analytics and Models, which will take place on 16th -18th May 2023 at the Thermi campus of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTH).

'These data are crucial to safeguard food availability and economic welfare, which are fundamental to human life', EcoScope coordinator, Professor Athanassios C. Tsikliras of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, stressed. 'For example, predicting the impact of climate change on species habitat distribution contributes to avoiding economic and biodiversity collapse due to sudden ecosystem change. Likewise, monitoring the effect of overfishing on fish stocks and marine biodiversity will facilitate fisheries management that will in turn focus on preventing ecosystem and economic collapse, he added. The course will be given by Dr Gianpaolo Coro, Researcher at the Italian National Research Council who has been working on Artificial Intelligence and Data Mining methodologies to process biological data for over 20 years.

Registration and attendance for the course are free of charge, necessitating only a CV, motivation letter, an understanding of undergraduate-level statistical methods, and a basic knowledge of ecology and fisheries biology. The course is intended for all participants interested in marine data, species observation and environmental parameter selection techniques, distance and density-based cluster analysis for habitat and vessel pattern recognition, artificial neural networks for species distribution modelling, Bayesian state-space models for population dynamics, open science approaches, and stock assessment, the course organisers said.

This course will be interactive and made up of practical exercises focusing on methodologies for marine data analysis and modelling.

Specific classes will address problems in marine science and methods for solving them, using cutting-edge computer science techniques and methodologies to analyse marine Big Data, including vessel transmitted data, species observation records and catch and vessel time series. Explanations and exercises will make use of real use cases of UN bodies (such as the FAO, UNEP, and UNESCO) related to marine food and ecosystem safety, in order to illustrate new frontiers of Open Science research.

Both unsupervised approaches for discovering habitat change patterns and predicting fishing vessel activity patterns (such as feature selection methods, cluster analysis, and time series forecasting) and supervised approaches for species distribution modelling and invasive species monitoring (using artificial neural networks, support vector machines, maximum entropy, and AquaMaps) will be featured in the course. The brochure for the course can be viewed here.

The deadline for applications is 31st March 2023.

This first course of the EcoScope Academy, co-organised by AUTH and the Italian National Research Council (CNR), is part of a planned series of courses for young researchers focusing on marine and fisheries science, in order to promote cross-community education and knowledge-sharing, organisers noted.

EcoScope is a four-year research project (2021-2025) addressing ecosystem degradation and anthropogenic impacts that cause fisheries to be unsustainably exploited in several European seas and promoting efficient, holistic, sustainable, ecologically-centred fisheries management, towards restoring fisheries’ sustainability, and ensuring a long-term balance between food security and healthy seas.