Aarhus University Seal

Project Biowide

Biowide (Biodiversity in Width and Depth) is an unprecedented assessment of the terrestrial biodiversity in Denmark. Earlier on, Danish biodiversity has been assessed by national atlas surveys, monitoring programs or in research projects focusing on restricted taxonomic groups, populations or localities. In Biowide, all types of habitats and all types of plants, fungi and animals have been assessed by species observations or by sequencing of environmental DNA in soil samples.

Funding and collection of data

The Villum Foundation funded the project, which ran in the period 2014-2018.

During this time, 130 site of 40 × 40 meters covering major natural environmental gradients in productivity, moisture and disturbance in addition to managed ecosystems (plantations and fields) were monitored and environmental data and species data on plants, mosses, lichens, fungi and insects were collected (except vertebrates due to the limited spatial scale of the site).

In addition, we sequenced environmental DNA from soil samples. We used the data to test fundamental ecological principles and thereby strengthen our knowledge and basis for evidence-based conservation.

Ecospace and development of new tools

The overall hypothesis for designing the project and collecting data has been that Ecospace (the spatio-temporal variation in abiotic conditions and biotic resources) can be used to predict variation in biodiversity (Brunbjerg et al. 2017).

Biowide has contributed to the development and validation of modern tools for biodiversity monitoring using airborne laser scanning (LiDAR) and environmental DNA (Thers et al. 2017, Frøslev et al. 2017) and methods for estimating biodiversity uniqueness of a biotope (Ejrnæs et al. 2018).

Species data

The species data file holds 36,323 observations of 5,464 taxa collected in the 130 sites. Some observations are at higher taxonomic level than species level – these data are kept as they contribute to the summed richness for each site. More species than the ones represented in the data file were collected during the project but we have only included species where a comparable effort has been invested for all 130 sites.

We observed and identified around 140 new species for Denmark. Besides traditional inventories, we sequenced soil and malaise-catches for DNA, and the resulting diversity is not included in these figures. Several papers have been published analyzing data from the project and there are more to come.

We have gathered the most important information, data and publications from the project on this web page. Data can be downloaded and used in analyses but please contact the project manager (Rasmus Ejrnæs), if you want to use the data in scientific publications.

See Google Scholar-profiles