Summer Institute 2013
A three-week intensive training workshop in ecological analysis and synthesis was offered by NCEAS in Santa Barbara from June 19 through July 10, 2013. Participants received hands-on guided experience using best practices in the technical aspects that underlie successful synthesis – from data discovery and integration to analysis and visualization, and special techniques for collaborative scientific research. The Packard Foundation  provided generous support for this summer’s institute.
In a highly competitive application process, twenty-two participants were selected from a pool of nearly 400 international applicants to participate in the 2013 Summer Institute.
|Sharon Baruch-Mordo||The Nature Conservancy|
|Isabella Bertani||University of Parma|
|Jill R. Bourque||U.S. Geological Survey|
|Iain Caldwell||University of Hawaii|
|Jennifer Costanza||North Carolina State University|
|Cristian Dambros||University of Vermont|
|Kristen Dybala||University of California, Davis|
|Xueying (Shirley) Han||University of California, Santa Barbara|
|David J. Harris||University of California, Davis|
|Alison Haupt||Northwest Fisheries Science Center|
|Shalene Jha||University of Texas, Austin|
|Holly Jones||Northern Illinois University|
|A. Michelle Lawing||University of Tennessee (NIMBioS)|
|Jonathan Lefcheck||Virginia Institute of Marine Science|
|Antonin Machac||State University of New York, Stony Brook|
|Michelle McCrackin||Washington State University|
|Erika Mudrak||Iowa State University|
|Sarah H Olson||Wildlife Conservation Society, Canada|
|Steve Powers||University of Notre Dame|
|Narcisa Pricope||Southern Oregon University|
|Sigrid Smith||University of Michigan|
|Brittany Teller||Pennsylvania State University|
Instructors advised participants in small-group synthesis projects, and also lead daily hands-on exercises that cover a breadth of topics. 2013 Instructors included:
Ben Bolker - A professor in the departments of Mathematics & Statistics and of Biology at McMaster University. His interests range widely in spatial, theoretical, mathematical, computational and statistical ecology, evolution and epidemiology; plant community, ecosystem, and epidemic dynamics
Stephanie Hampton- The Deputy Director of NCEAS. She is a freshwater ecologist whose research focuses primarily on discerning lake ecosystem dynamics through analysis of long-term ecological data. In her role at NCEAS and other highly collaborative efforts, such as DataONE, she is actively engaged in fostering skills for a vibrant community around data-intensive research.
Matt Jones - The Director of Informatics Research and Development at NCEAS. His research focuses on environmental informatics, including the management, integration, analysis, and modeling of heterogeneous environmental data. He is co-PI for the DataONE federated data repository network. He also co-founded the Kepler project, an open source scientific workflow system, and leads other open source research projects for environmental science.
Jim Regetz - The Lead Scientific Programmer at NCEAS with a background in computationally intensive ecology and environmental science, environmental information management, effective use of relevant software and computing resources, statistical analysis and estimation, and ecological modeling and simulation.
Mark Schildhauer - The Director of Computing at NCEAS. His research interests include ecoinformatics, the semantic web, and scientific workflows, with a focus on environmental science. Schildhauer and colleagues developed the extensible observation ontology, OBOE, and a semantic annotation architecture that improves data discovery and re-use. He helped develop Ecological Metadata Language, is a co-founder of the Kepler scientific workflow project, and led the SEEK Knowledge Representation group.
Course Materials 
The Summer Institute coursework wove together several core themes via a mixture of lectures/instruction, discussions, and exercises. These themes were reinforced and injected into the real-time synthetic scientific research process through daily work on group projects.
Core themes included:
- Collaboration modes and methods
- Data management, preservation, and sharing
- Data manipulation, integration, and exploration
- Scientific workflows and reproducible research
- Data analysis and modeling
- Communicating results
Group Projects 
Based on their research interests, Summer Institute participants self-selected into five research groups. Each group defined a specific research topic that would form the basis of the group project they would collaborate on throughout the program. Through the group projects, participants received hands-on guided experience using best practices in the technical aspects that underlie successful synthesis – from data discovery and integration to analysis and visualization, and special techniques for collaborative scientific research. Summer Institute 2013 participants continue to collaborate on their group projects well beyond the close of the three-week program, with the intent to publish their findings and make their derived data sets publicly available.
- Ocean Health Evaluation: The utility of the cumulative impact index in the Southern California Bight 
- Dispersal Biogeography 
- Trends in river nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment in the agricultural Midwest US, and the relation to federal expenditures towards conservation practices 
- Taxonomic Diversity and Ecosystem Function 
- The Urban Biodiversity Project