Ecology is increasingly data-centric. Through large collaborations, open data practices, and global citizen science, huge datasets are being amassed on organisms and their environments. There is also a wealth of databases and other resources for storing, sharing, and using ecological data for research and conservation. Biologists make use of these resources to study ecological systems and address pressing problems like climate change and habitat loss.
We investigate the place of open science practices in this shift towards a data-centric ecology. What does it mean to open up the collection, curation, and use of ecological data? How will open science affect ecology and conservation biology?
With a focus on animal ecology, we examine:
- The use of open data for addressing ‘big questions’ in ecology and conservation biology, looking at the example of sharing and synthesising animal tracking data.
- The coordination of local expertise in global citizen science, with the example of how the international birdwatching data platform eBird is implemented locally.