As ecologists continue to gather long-term data at site, regional, continental and global scales, there will be an increasing need for tools to measure the pattern and rate of change in plant and animal communities in response to multiple environmental drivers. The National Science Foundation (NSF) Advances in Biological Informatics (ABI) program has recently funded the NCEAS Informatics team and collaborators to gather together multiple metrics of ecological dynamics into one toolbox that will provide ecologists with a new set of tools for quantifying how communities change over time. Their approach builds upon many recent informatics developments (Kepler, DataONE, and Ecological Metadata Language) to advance ecological research. The toolbox will make community analysis more accessible, expose a variety of indices to wider use, and, with existing workflows, will help reduce data preparation efforts and foster unprecedented potential for collaboration.
Matthew Jones, NCEAS Director of Informatics
Scott Collins, University of New Mexico,
Corinna Gries, University of Wisconsin's Center for Limnology