Call for ecosystem and biodiversity data

A eLTER PLUS Data Call has been launched to collect biodiversity and ecosystem observation data from eLTER sites. Data will be used to adress environmental and societal challenges by a number of scientific cases studies dealing with biodiversity loss, bio-geochemical processes, hydrological processes and analyse socio-ecological systems.

Sites and their data are the backbone of the eLTER network and its scientific work.


The eLTER PLUS Advanced Community project (H2020, GA-Nr.871128) aims at improving the key infrastructure services of the eLTER research infrastructure (RI) over the coming years. A key objective is to showcase the potential of eLTER to contribute to environmental and societal challenges by means of a number of scientific case studies, which check the current networks ability and leverage the lessons learned on the RI services improvement as well as on the interaction with site managers. 

The eLTER PLUS science cases have been defined addressing key research questions where eLTER RI will make an important contribution to cross site and cross scale analyses. These research challenges are

  • biodiversity trends and losses (BDL)
  • bio-geochemical processes (BGC)
  • hydrological processes (SWF)
  • socio-ecological process (SES)

The science cases are carried out by dedicated research groups. A more detailed description of the science cases can be found here (PDF File). If you want to know more about the use of your data and the data analysis please contact the responsible persons for the science case.

The outcome will be scientific publications, with you as co-authors, thereby increasing the visibility of your site as well as working on scientific and data publication. Your site is part of the existing eLTER network. Integrating the existing data in the case studies addressing the “whole system approach” is key.

Call for data

Based on the requirements data calls have been launched to collect - particularly long-term - data series on ecosystem and biodiversity observation from a number of priority sites. An overview on the data and variables required to do the scientific analysis is provided in the data requirement table (XLS File).

We call for:

  • Biodiversity observation data from as many sites as possible covering a time span of at least 10 years with at least two observation points and covering all organism groups (terrestrial and aquatic).

  • Ecosystem observation data from priority sites defined in the project covering a time span of at least 10 years of plot based medium (e.g. monthly) to high frequency (e.g. half hour) time series. To apply the eLTER’s whole-system approach in the analysis, a broad range of data are needed, covering biomass, climate, atmospheric deposition, soil-atmosphere gas exchange, air quality, soil climate, solid soil chemistry, soil water, runoff data, stream and standing water, groundwater, land use, and socio-economic data.  Details regarding the variables, their units as well as the desired temporal resolution are given in the data requirement table (XLS File). Already a number of priority sites have been contacted (PDF File).

  • Descriptive ecosystem data from priority sites providing key characteristics on topography, vegetation type, soil physical characteristics, land cover and land use as well as habitat diversity. Details on variables and units are given in the data requirement table (XLS File).


Important dates

  • Deadline for data submission: December 18th 2020
  • In case you need more time, please contact and Melanie Tista.

Supported data formats 

Standard data reporting format

Wherever possible, we are supporting existing standard data formats or data reporting specifications defined by your national network or international programmes  (e.g. ICP IM, ICP Forests, ICP Waters, GBIF DarwinCore) or linking to existing repositories (e.g. ICOS, Fluxnet). 

eLTER Data Specification

If no standard format is used we ask you to provide your data using the eLTER Data Specification (PDF File), providing information on:

  • required information (e.g. metadata on methods)
  • description of data fields (e.g. STATION_CODE, VARIABLE, VALUE, UNIT)

The data specification distinguishes between (a) generally recommended Core fields and (b) Extended fields allowing to extend the data reporting table if required and necessary

In addition also templates (ZIP File) for basic data reporting (as csv and xslx format) of e.g. data, station, method, reference, event, sample, license are provided. Detailed descriptions and examples about the templates you can find in the “read me” sheet of the template excel-files.

Supported repositories for data submission

Datasets needs to documented and provided as files shared via a web accessible resource allowing the download or access services (e.g. OGC SOS) to the data. This can either be locally hosted or a cloud ressource. In case a user authentication is needed, please also share the credentials.

In case, also B2Share (PDF File) or B2Drop (PDF File) could be used for data sharing and DEIMS-SDR for metadata provision via DEIMS SDR (PDF File) can be used.


How to contribute?

  1. Read the guidelines for the data provision carefully - the formats, procedures and reports are described in the Guidelines for data collection (PDF File).

  2. Compile data according to the data requirements - the required data for the science cases are summarised in the data requirement table (XLS File).

  3. Select the appropriate data reporting schema and compile files and required metadata according to the guidelines (PDF File).

  4. Select the appropriate data sharing - datasets need to be provided as files shared via a web accessible resource allowing the download or access services (e.g. OGC SOS) to the data.

  5. Provide the data submission report to Sarah Geiger and Melanie Tista - in order to get an overview on the data available we ask you to fill the Data Submission Report (XLS File, see also “read me” sheet). 

How to get help?



A dedicated section to the frequently asked questions (FAQs) can be accessed here.

The questions correspond to the following categories:

  • General questions
  • Data format and specification
  • Data submission
  • Biodiversity data
  • Plot/time series data
  • Metadata
  • Deadline
  • Funding
  • Participation