The world's ocean covers an area that represents almost 71% of the planet's surface and is home to a wealth of plant and animal species. Although the Czech Republic is a landlocked country with no access to any of the oceans, this does not mean that it cannot contribute to their exploration. Scientists from IT4Innovations National Supercomputing Center have joined the DTO-BioFlow project, which will collect previously unavailable or difficult-to-access marine biodiversity data and integrate it into the biodiversity component of the Digital Twin Ocean.

The biological component of the ocean is the one we know the least about and the one we have the slightest understanding of. Understanding the interaction of species with each other and their environment and the changes they undergo in response to environmental and anthropogenic factors over time can provide us with helpful information and enable ecosystem-based management. And therein lies the benefit of digital twins. They provide us with virtual models of the ocean by integrating ocean observations and modelling into digital infrastructures, allowing us to simulate and study 'what-if' scenarios that are key to effective conservation and management, leading to the development of marine biodiversity.

The research is conducted by scientists at IT4Innovations National Supercomputing Center at VSB - Technical University of Ostrava. Ocean biodiversity data comes from various sources, such as biological sciences, optical identification, etc. Although new technologies based on imaging, acoustics, DNA, and satellite imagery make it possible to observe biodiversity at previously unattainable scales and frequencies, many of these data require digitisation of one or more steps. These steps sometimes do not occur, and the data remain unavailable or inaccessible, so we refer to them as 'sleeping data'.

“This is where the DTO-BioFlow project initiative comes in, with the main aim of awakening this sleeping biodiversity data and enabling the seamless integration of existing and new data into EU Digital Twin Ocean. Between now and February 2027, DTO-Bioflow project partners will create a digital replica of marine biological processes and transform new and existing data into evidence-based knowledge. This will make previously unavailable or difficult-to-access data on marine biodiversity available to the public,” explains Tomáš Martinovič, Principal Investigator at IT4Innovations, a partner in this international project.

IT4Innovations is mainly involved in the working group in charge of integrating the technical solution into the infrastructure of the digital twin of the ocean. "We lead a group tasked with modifying the codes in the case studies to use the supercomputing centres' resources efficiently. This working group also seeks to align the DTO BioFlow initiative with other digital twin initiatives (e.g., EOSC, BioDT, EDITO-Infra, Iliad, DITTO, TURTLE)," adds Martinovic, who is working on prototyping digital twins in the biodiversity.

The DTO-BioFlow project started last year in Ostend, Belgium, and is coordinated by the Flanders Marine Institute, the technical administrator of the European Marine Observation and Data Network portal. The consortium brings together 30 partners from 14 countries, including research infrastructures, networks, organisations, global aggregators, platforms, and others. The project aligns with the EU´s Biodiversity Strategy and the Nature Restoration Law and with the mission the “Restore our oceans and waters by 2030”, both of which advocate for the protection and restoration of land and sea regions. For more information, please visit the project website


This project is supported by the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 101112823.