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Advancing the Sharing and Synthesis of Ecological Data:

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Issue: 
Spring 2001

Guidelines for Data Sharing and Integration

Working Group 1: Partnerships for Inter-site Synthetic Research and Initiation of Standards Development

Location: Sevilleta LTER Field Station
Dates: June 14-16, 2001
Organizers: Barbara Benson, Tim Fahey, Alan Knapp, and Dick Olson

Last summer at the LTER All Scientists Meeting (ASM), the LTER Information Managers sponsored a workshop entitled “The Partnership between Long-term Ecological Research and Information Management: Successes and Challenges”. This forum generated a productive dialogue among scientific researchers and information managers by examining partnerships between researchers and information managers both at individual sites and for inter-site research. A follow-up activity was funded by the LTER Network Office to support meetings of two working groups this year to more strongly solidify the partnerships between scientists engaged in long-term ecological studies and scientists involved with information management. We will focus on particularly salient issues related to data standardization efforts, data quality assurance and quality control, and metadata.

A major focus of the working groups will be to apply the results of their analysis to a specific data collection and synthesis activity case study. As a case study, the working group will review and propose potential schema for standardizing measures of net primary productivity (NPP) as was discussed for the LTER-wide focus (ASM Workshop: Primary Productivity in Forests: Status of research and planning for the future, T. Fahey, HBR) and as an ILTER project (ASM Workshop: Biodiversity and net primary productivity demonstration projects for ILTER and GTOS, J. Gosz, SEV).

The first working group will meet June 14-16 and has set the following goals for the meeting:

  1. Review synthesis activities (partnerships, draft paper from ASM Partnerships workshop, and ASM NPP activity and Science paper, etc).
  2. Explore the development of standardized data collection protocols and other guidelines to compile data with the intent of using such data in synthesis activities.
  3. Review the use of methods to harmonize long-term data assembled for data synthesis activities.
  4. Develop a plan for the development and synthesis of NPP data from the LTER , ILTER, and GTOS networks
  5. Evaluate the barriers for acceptance and use of guidelines for metadata and system documentation.
  6. Compare sources of variability within collections of data, including biome, interannual, methods, and sampling to determine if reducing variability associated with methods will improve the overall analysis and interpretation.
  7. Develop a plan for workshop 2’s (QA/QC and Continuation of Standards Development) focus on assessing the potential for developing and implementing standard procedures for long-term data QA/QC.