Big Data and the Future for Ecology

Great to see such a nice turnout for the Roundtable discussion on big data and ecology! I’m posting a slide set from the talk (ESA_Hampton_2012_public), but as you probably noticed, I don’t put much text on my slides, so it probably won’t make much sense to you if you didn’t see the talk! Feel free to email me if you want any details not included here. We are revising a paper on this topic for resubmission to Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. Frontiers has a  liberal policy on copyright so – if accepted – please rest assured that I and the other authors will make it available on our websites.

I took out the cute xkcd images, but you can enjoy as many as you like by checking out yourself!

What?! You’re still reading this post after checking out I doubt it, but if you are, then…

Here’s some papers I mentioned:

Some Simple Guidelines for Effective Data Management
Elizabeth T. Borer et al.
Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America 90(2) 205-214

Heidorn, P. B. 2008. Shedding Light on the Dark Data in the Long Tail of Science. Library Trends 57:280–299.

Aronova, E., K. S. Baker, and N. Oreskes. 2010. Big Science and Big Data in Biology: From the International Geophysical Year through the International Biological Program to the Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Network, 1957–Present. Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences 40:183–224.

Shaun shared a blog post that describes the 3 V’s of ‘big data’ – volume, velocity, and variety.


4 thoughts on “Big Data and the Future for Ecology

  1. Thanks, Steph, for posting your slides, summary, and links!

    Here are links to a couple of other things mentioned during the Q&A:

    Steph, you also mentioned some literature from the history and philosophy of science fields about why researchers don’t want to share data. Could you post citations for those?

  2. Oh boy, it’s a big lit… Let’s start with these…

    Borgman, C. L., J. C. Wallis, M. S. Mayernik, and A. Pepe. 2007. Drowning in data: Digital library architecture to support scientific use of embedded sensor networks. Proceedings of the 2007 conference on Digital libraries:269–277.

    Borgman, C. L. 2010. Research Data: Who will share what, with whom, when, and why? Page 21. Beijing. Retrieved from

    Jones, M. B., M. P. Schildhauer, O. J. Reichman, and S. Bowers. 2006. The new bioinformatics: Integrating ecological data from the gene to the biosphere. Annual Review of Ecology Evolution and Systematics 37:519–544.

    Porter, J. H. 2010. A Brief History of Data Sharing in the U.S. Long Term Ecological Research Network. Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America 91:14–20.

    Zimmerman, A. 2007. Not by metadata alone: the use of diverse forms of knowledge to locate data for reuse. Integrated Journal on Digital Libraries 7:16.

    Zimmerman, A. S. 2008. New knowledge from old data: The role of standards in the sharing and reuse of ecological data. Science, Technology & Human Values 33:631–652.

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