Internal Resources

Miami has a wide variety of data management resources, and Miami researchers make use of a variety of long-term databases to manage their ecological data, many of which are outlined below.

Ecological Data Resources at Miami

Miami has a wide variety of data management resources to assist faculty and student researchers as they work with large data sets:

  • Center for Analytics and Data Science
    offers space, resources, and materials to faculty, staff, and students to support research and teaching related to analytics and data science.
  • Center for Digital Scholarship
    provides digital resources and support for researchers, including assistance with the development of data management plans as a part of grant proposals.
  • Geospatial Analysis Center
    (GAC) in the Department of Geography serves as the hub of geospatial research and activities at Miami, with 20+ high-end computers running the latest commercial and open source GIS, remote sensing, and geospatial data science software. The GAC is home to seven faculty and staff members, with a wide-range of related expertise including ongoing funded research with the USDA, NSF, NASA, and United Nations Environmental Programme.
  • Statistical Consulting Center
    offers statistical consulting services to Miami faculty, staff, and students. Consulting services will be provided free to Miami University students, faculty, and staff who have no external support, or on a cost recovery basis to those with externally funded support.
  • Ohio Supercomputer and Miami's Redhawk Cluster
    offer access to big scale computing hardware and software to support scientific research and support with processing very large data sets.

Long-term Lake Ecological Databases

Two major long-term databases on lakes exist at Miami University.

The Ecology of Lakes and Watersheds Lab (Mike Vanni, María González, and Bill Renwick) has 24 years of physical, chemical, and biological data on Acton Lake in southwestern Ohio.

The Global Change Limnology Lab (Craig Williamson and Erin Overholt) has 28 years of physical, chemical, and biological data on 3 Pocono Lakes of differing trophic status in northeastern Pennsylvania.

Small Mammal Database

With a 15-year database of small mammal trapping data, the Hoffman Lab (Susan Hoffman) has extensive data on shifts in small mammal populations in response to climate change in the Great Lakes Region.

Miami Involvement in Large Data Initiatives

Miami researchers have had strong involvement in many organizations that deal with large ecological datasets.

Melany Fisk has worked as part of the NSF-funded Long-term Ecological Research Program (LTER) since 1990, studying ecosystem dynamics in alpine tundra (Niwot LTER) and north temperate forest (Hubbard Brook LTER), where she is currently a CoPI.

Since 1998 Mike Vanni, María González, and Bill Renwick have had NSF LTREB funding to study nearby Acton Lake and its watershed.

Miami's Ecology Research Center (ERC) and the Lacawac Field Station, to which Miami students and faculty have access, are a part of the Organization of Biological Field Stations (OBFS).

Many of Miami's limnologists are members of the Global Lake Ecological Observatory Network (GLEON), with some taking leadership roles in the organization, i.e. leading the Climate Sentinels Working Group (Craig Williamson) and as past leaders in the GLEON Graduate Student Association (PhD students Kevin Rose, Jennie Brentrup).

Miami Involvement in Big Data

MiEBDI seeks to be a resource for the big data needs of ecologists as they collect and work with increasingly large datasets. In addition to work generating some of these ecological big data sets, Miami research answers big ecological questions utilizing data from large, shared datasets.

For example, the Sustainable Landscapes and Communities Research Lab (Amélie Davis) uses spatially explicit big data from publically available data sources such as EarthExplorer to study human-environment interactions from the perspective of landscape ecology, land change science, environmental planning, and sustainability science.

Weather station data, both from Miami's weather station and other stations around the U.S. sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) are used to support much ecological research at Miami.

Beyond research, Miami is helping to prepare students to work with big data through the offering of a co-major in Analytics in the Department of Statistics.

Due to grants from Miami University and their College of Arts and Science that have provided support for advanced sensors, Miami science faculty (Jonathan Levy, Bill Renwick, Mike Vanni, Craig Williamson) are incorporating big data into their courses to prepare students to work with these large ecological datasets.

Weather and Climate Data

Miami's Ecology Research Center (ERC) and Institute for the Environment and Sustainability (IES) have managed a weather station at the ERC for the past 3 decades that permits Miami students and faculty to address critical insights into the effects of changing climate on ecological systems. This weather station is funded by the U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and serves the National Atmospheric Deposition Program/National Trends Network in precipitation chemistry, the Clean Air Status and Trends Network (CASTNET) in air quality, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) weather service.

Data Management Resources

In our mission to support students and researchers in their work with ecological data, MiEBDI offers data management workshops, including a sprint course BIO 491/710 in the fall semester 2018.