Introduction to AnaEE France
(Analysis and Experimentation on Ecosystems - France)
is a national research infrastructure for the study of continental ecosystems and their biodiversity.
It offers the international scientific community a broad range of 22 services in the form of experimental platforms (in controlled, semi-natural or natural environments), analysis platforms and shared instruments.
AnaEE France also provides access to data and modeling platforms.
Human activities have substantially altered natural environments across the globe, and have raised vital societal questions regarding the sustainable supply of biological resources and ecological services. A major scientific challenge in this context is therefore to understand and predict the dynamics of biodiversity and ecosystems. To do this, we need to adopt a truly integrated biological approach that combines all life and environmental sciences. The AnaEE France (Analysis and Experimentation on Ecosystems - France) infrastructure meets this goal. It is coordinated by CNRS, INRA and the Joseph Fourier University, and constitutes the contribution by France to the European AnaEE project that is part of the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) roadmap.
AnaEE France has brought together in an integrated network a unique collection of experimental platforms (Nodes 1, 2 and 3), analytical platforms (Node 4) and information systems and modeling platforms (Node 5), all devoted to the biology of continental ecosystems. The infrastructure is built around three main service offerings that provide access to a range of experimental facilities: the Très Grande Infrastructure de Recherche des Écotrons - Écotrons Very Large Research Infrastructure, four experimental platforms in semi-natural environments, and some 20 natural sites in metropolitan France and French Guiana where long-term experiments are conducted in forests, pastures, lakes and crops. In the field of environmental microbiology, AnaEE France is also investing in the shared instruments and analytical resources required for a detailed characterization of the environment and microorganisms. The infrastructure includes an Internet platform used to manage access to these facilities, share databases and house modeling tools. These digital tools offer services that can be used to simulate scenarios and are an effective means of transferring scientific results to the socio-economic sector.
By bringing together the best platforms available in the field, AnaEE France is the only national infrastructure fully devoted to the study of continental ecosystems. In a single integrated network it provides all the tools required to study, understand and model biological systems and conduct innovative biological research on gene - environment interactions, biodiversity and the functioning of ecosystems.
The project and its current status
AnaEE France is scheduled to receive funding of €14m from ANR between 2012 and 2020 as part of the "Investing for the Future" project's "Biology and Health Infrastructure" program.
By the end of the initial so-called investment phase, mid 2017, all its services must be operational.
AnaEE France infrastructure was officially launched during its inauguration on February 14, 2013 at the Natural History Museum in Toulouse. A consortium agreement was signed with ANR at the end of 2013. This sets forth a number of main principles concerning the utilization of services, pricing, and the ownership of data obtained using infrastructure resources. These principles will be included in specific charters as they are written for each service.
Currently, 20 services out of the 22 proposed are operational. The deployment of the other services is ongoing. Transversal activities have been launched and aim to:
- harmonize descriptions of the resources and data generated to ensure interoperability between data and models and facilitate access to the different resources available (experimental resources, data, experiments conducted);
- harmonize methods and measures, and share documentary resources, analytical methods and technological intelligence;
- organize prospective scientific meetings on important issues in ecological experimentation. For instance, initial action has already been launched on habitat fragmentation.
The above-mentioned service charters are in the final stages of preparation. They will be accompanied by the creation of local committees charged with processing requests for access to the various services.
The various governance bodies are already in place.
AnaEE France integrates naturally into the AnaEE Europe project that is currently in its implementation phase (2016 to 2018) and is part of the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) Roadmap.