EGU23-9906, updated on 26 Apr 2023
EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Addressing pressing global societal research challenges through targeted harmonisation of macrosystems ecology data sets

Beryl Morris2, Werner Kutsch1, Michael SanClements3, Henry Loescher3, Melissa Genazzio3, Michael Mirtl4, Jaana Back4, Tommy Bornman5, Paula Mabee3, Xiubo Yu6, Steffan Zacharias4, Gregor Feig5, Mark Grant2, Emmanuel Salmon1, and Leiming Zhang6
Beryl Morris et al.
  • 1ICOS, Helsinki, Finland
  • 2TERN, Brisbane, Australia
  • 3NEON, Boulder, USA
  • 4eLTER, Leipzig, Germany
  • 5SAEON, Pretoria, South Africa
  • 6CERN, Beijing, PRC

Guided by the Framework Criteria of the Group of Senior Officials (GSO) on Global Research Infrastructures, 6 major ecosystem research infrastructures (SAEON/South Africa, TERN/Australia, CERN/China, NEON/USA, ICOS/Europe, eLTER/Europe) came together in 2020 under an MOU, establishing the Global Ecosystem Research Infrastructure (GERI).  With its goal of providing interoperable data and services based on terrestrial and coastal in-situ observations from a high number of observational sites, organized in a common hierarchical system and standardized in the highest possible degree, GERI provides a unique opportunity to advance our understanding of ecological processes across continents, decades, and disciplinary boundaries.

Aggregating ecological and biogeophysical data is complex. Not only do those data cover a myriad of different types of natural phenomena, and the interactions between, but the data are generated in different jurisdictions using different standards and approaches. Thus, as a critical first step in understanding the challenges and potential of its multi-institutional, multi-country data landscape, GERI has identified and mapped all the data types from each of its members, grouping the data suites provided by each GERI member into the drivers of changes (causes) and the ecological processes (effects) and then visualizing it into broad (searchable) respective common ecological categories.

This exercise has allowed evaluation of the potential for a targeted data harmonization effort based on a subset of data products with high relevance to specific use cases (e.g., drought across multiple continents). By using the subset of relevant data as a community test case, GERI can ascertain the efficacy of a specific harmonized data set in advancing a priority area of science. Such a prototype will set the stage for future efforts and ensures GERI addresses the most pressing global research challenges, i.e. those frontiers of knowledge where a global-critical-mass effort is required to achieve progress.   

How to cite: Morris, B., Kutsch, W., SanClements, M., Loescher, H., Genazzio, M., Mirtl, M., Back, J., Bornman, T., Mabee, P., Yu, X., Zacharias, S., Feig, G., Grant, M., Salmon, E., and Zhang, L.: Addressing pressing global societal research challenges through targeted harmonisation of macrosystems ecology data sets, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-9906,, 2023.