BlueBRIDGE services are operated through Virtual Research Environments (VREs).

Virtual Research Environments are systems that provide researchers and research teams, educators, SMEs, and any other type of user - from different disciplines, institutions, or even countries - with a web-based set of facilities including services, data, and computational facilities. These systems can provide seamless access to the evolving wealth of resources (datasets, services, computing) - usually spread across many providers including e-Infrastructures - needed for a research activity. In terms of content, they potentially support the entire research process, covering open science practices such as sharing, publishing, and reproducing comprehensive research activities; giving access to research products while scientists are working with them; automatically generating provenance; capturing accounting; managing quota; supporting new forms of transparent peer-reviews and collaborations by social networking. These services and tools can also support the development of new research methods and topics. The facilities provided by a VRE are tailored to serve the needs of a specific Community of Practice. The term Community of Practice refers to a set of individuals (they do not necessarily need to be formal structures such as departments or project teams) who decide to “virtually” connect to solve a specific problem. (More on VREs)

The key distinguishing features of a VRE are:

  1. It is a web-based working environment
  2. It is tailored to serve the needs of a Community of Practice
  3. It is expected to provide a Community of Practice with the whole array of commodities needed to accomplish the community’s goal(s)
  4. It is open and flexible with respect to the overall service offering and lifetime
  5. It promotes fine-grained controlled sharing of both intermediate and final research results by guaranteeing ownership, provenance, and attribution.

The BlueBRIDGE VREs are built on the D4Science infrastructure.

D4Science is a self-sustained hybrid data infrastructure executing around 60,000 models & algorithms per month and providing access to over a billion records hosted in more than 50 worldwide repositories. Currently, D4Science serves over 2,700 users from multiple scientific domains (e.g. fisheries, biodiversity, ocean observation, etc.). The added value of D4Science is that it is a framework in which infrastructure resources (e.g. data and services) made available by different data infrastructures can be dynamically packaged to serve the needs associated with particular scientific or societal questions. All of this is completely transparent for the user.


Latest technology updates

The Tuna Atlas VRE is a tool to handle public domain data from various (Tuna) Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (T-RFMOs). Data include catches, fishing efforts and size frequencies of the species managed by the five tuna RFMOs. Tuna Atlas provides services to discover the available datasets at regional and global levels, extract them in several formats widely used by the scientific community (e.g. CSV, NetCDF, SDMX) and visualize them in an interactive web-viewer of indicators and maps. It also includes tools for the users to generate their own Tuna atlas by applying own processing (e.g. applying specific choices for scientific corrections) on the tuna RFMOs data.

Many research communities working in biology and related fields are committed to building and preserving a wide collection of environmental and species distribution data. In order for these communities to be able to carry out their studies in a fast and efficient manner, the data needs to be well organized, meticulously described and possibly represented in a standard format  that enables re-use. In fact, the Network Common Data Format (NetCDF) is a self-describing, machine-independent data format that is meant to represent and store array-oriented n-dimensional data, widely used by many communities and research institutions as a standard. 

BlueBRIDGE has "mapped the future" in a harmonized set of climate forecasts and maps of biotic and abiotic parameters for use in ecological models and climate change-related analyses. The maps are based on data of the AquaMaps Consortium and the NASA Earth Exchange Platform.

It has long been considered a legendary creature, so mysterious and elusive as to create doubts on its actual existence. But not only does the giant squid exists, it’s now possible to trace its habitat with a certain precision. A team of researchers at CNR-ISTI in Pisa, Italy, has just completed the first digital map that estimates the distribution of this enormous mollusc on a global scale in the seas of our planet. 

The Fisheries Data Interoperability Working Group will present its early achievements at the upcoming  RDA Plenary meeting in Montreal, Canada.

The session will explain how the usage of the R programming language as orchestrator to manage metadata, data complying with OGC standards and controlled vocabularies is supporting the Tuna Fisheries Use Case. But it doesn’t stop there. The session is organised as a side event to extend its scope to other fishery-related fields and beyond: for example to the marine or earth observations domain.

Last week, Tiziana Ferrari, Technical Director of the EGI foundation[1] (, opened the EGI Conference 2017 (9-12 May 2017, Catania, Italy) highlighting the importance of collaboration among e-infrastructures.

The ERCIM News No.109 featured an article on Virtual Research Environments (VREs), written by Donatella Castelli, Pasquale Pagano and Leonardo Candela, CNR-ISTI & BlueBRIDGE consortium.

From the 7th to the 10th March 2017, the 4th BlueBRIDGE TCom meeting is taking place in Copenhagen kindly hosted by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES).

The aim of the meeting is to discuss the state of play of the BlueBRIDGE project and the plan for the upcoming months.

The latest Virtual Research Environment (VRE) released by BlueBRIDGE has been conceived for all the aquafarming enterprises that want an answer to the question: how can I maximize the growth rate of

Oceana, the largest international advocacy organization focused on ocean conservation, published a new research that provides the most comprehensive overview so far of overfishing in European fish stocks.

A new suite of three algorithms, implementing a Supervised Machine Learning Workflow based on Feed Forward Neural Networks, is now available.

BlueBRIDGE recently developed a Virtual Research Environment (VRE) supporting a scientific training on Stock Assessment. This VRE will be used for the ICES Advanced Stock Assessment Training Course, which will be held from Monday, 28 November, to Friday, 2 December, 2016.