NCEAS Project 7940

Spatial and temporal community dynamics: Sharing data to answer questions

  • Jeff Houlahan
  • David J. Currie
  • C. Scott Findlay

ActivityDatesFurther Information
Working Group16th—20th February 2004Participant List  
Working Group30th August—2nd September 2004Participant List  
Working Group23rd—27th May 2005Participant List  
Working Group11th—14th June 2006Participant List  

General ecological principles can, by definition, only be derived from studies that span multiple taxa, geographic areas, and time periods. Such a broad research agenda implies data-sharing among many researchers from diverse geographic regions. Many of the technological barriers to data-sharing have been and are being addressed but there still exist many sociological obstacles to data-sharing because researchers are often, understandably, reluctant to share hard-won datasets. We propose to identify the key barriers to data-sharing and provide incentives to overcome these barriers. Once an effective data-sharing model is developed we will build a "pilot" database using multi-species, site and time period datasets contributed by the working group participants. This database will be used to answer fundamental ecological questions such as; Are more diverse communities more stable? Is the diversity-stability relationship scale, taxon or habitat specific? Are natural communities regulated primarily by biotic or abiotic factors? Does the answer to that question depend on the scale, taxa and/or habitats being studies? Do spatial and temporal variability change in some predictable way with scale? This working group is intended to be a pilot project for a large-scale ┬┐consortium┬┐ of ecologists sharing multi-species, site, and time period datasets to derive general ecological principles.

TypeProduct of NCEAS Research
Journal Article Houlahan, Jeff; Currie, David J.; Cumming, Graeme; Ernest, S. K. Morgan; Findlay, C. Scott; Fuhlendorf, Samuel D.; Gaedke, Ursula; Legendre, Pierre; Magnuson, John; McArdle, Brian; Muldavin, Esteban; Noble, David; Russell, Roly; Stevens, Richard D.; Willis, Theodore; Woiwod, Ian; Wondzell, Steve. 2007. Compensatory dynamics are rare in natural ecological communities. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Vol: 104(9). Pages 3273-3277.