NCEAS collaborative research efforts have produced a variety of software tools and products that assist scientists in the creation, management, access, and analysis of ecological data. These tools can be classified into five categories. The ecoinformatics.org web site provides further details, including download instructions, where appropriate, for each tool. All the software tools that NCEAS has developed are free for download, typically run on at least several popular computing platforms, and utilize best of class open source software frameworks when appropriate.
Analytical And Modeling Tools
Kepler is an open-source scientific workflow system that allows scientists to design scientific workflows and execute them efficiently using emerging Grid-based approaches to distributed computation. Kepler facilitates access to a broad range of ecologically relevant data via the EcoGrid, while also providing a basis for sharing analyses through a growing library of executable components and workflows. Kepler/CORE moves Kepler from a research prototype to a reliable and easily extensible system.
Ecological Metadata Language (EML) is a metadata specification developed by the ecology discipline and for the ecology discipline. EML is implemented as a series of XML document types that can be used in a modular and extensible manner to document ecological data. Each EML module is designed to describe one logical part of the total metadata that should be included with any ecological dataset. It is likely that EML will be useful as a Metadata Language outside of the ecological discipline since, despite its intended relevance for ecological data, it does not contain any metadata structures that are strictly ecological. Rather, the metadata structures in EML all have broader applicability.
Metadata Entry Tools and Editors
Morpho allows users to create and manage EML metadata and to share those metadata, and their associated data, with others. It was created to provide an easy-to-use, cross-platform application for accessing and manipulating metadata and data both locally and on the network through powerful connections with Metacats .
Jalama is a (research prototype) system that can be used for developing metadata and data entry forms, based on rich metadata descriptions, for use in lab and field environments for ecology.
Data Repositories & Registries
Metacat is a flexible metadata database architecture that utilizes XML as a common syntax for representing metadata content standards utilized by ecologists. Metacats have specialized features suitable for guaranteeing local autonomy and access control, while also affording the possibility of broad-scale replication and information sharing within the KNB .
KNB Data Repository: Supports the Knowledge Network for Biocomplexity, a national network that facilitates ecological and environmental research on biocomplexity.
Vegbank: The vegetation plot database of the Ecological Society of America's Panel on Vegetation Classification.
Paleobiology Database: Fossil information that includes 52,000 collection records and 511,889 taxonomic occurrences from 13,962 published references.
Interaction Web Database: Data concerning ecological interactions, particularly pollination/pollinator relationships.
Global Population Dynamics Database: An extensive collection of time series data from plant and animal populations.