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How Much Ecological Data is Out There?

Michelle Chang
Michelle Chang

Ms. Chang graduated at the University of California Irvine with a bachelors degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biological Sciences and subsequently worked for two years as a field technician with Dr. Katharine Suding at the University of California Berkeley. Currently, she is a Masters student at the Bren School of Environmental Sciences & Management at the University of California Santa Barbara. She has a strong interest in restoration, natural resources management, and conservation planning.

Project Description: 

No one is certain how much ecological data exists, or how this amount compares to the volume of data currently housed in repositories such as Knowledge Network for Biocomplexity (KNB). It would be useful to determine this for designing infrastructure, but also as a call to arms for ecologists to start sharing this “dark data”. For this project, we will develop a method for estimating the amount of ecological data being generated, with a focus on “small science” projects. Initially this project will involve brainstorming about the best way to estimate such a complex figure, and the intern will then be tasked with producing the estimate using the decided upon methods. Potential methods for estimation may include sampling publications, surveying scientists, or exploring existing databases. We foresee that results from this project will be highly cited since such an estimate is useful for discussions about data sharing, data reuse, and repository development in Ecology.

Primary Mentor: 
Carly Strasser
Secondary Mentor: 
Stephanie Hampton