Ecosystem Data Visualization

Ecosystem Data Visualization

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Devri Adams (Environmental Science), Annie Lott (Statistics), and Camila Vargas Restrepo (Visual Media Studies, Psychology) spent ten weeks creating interactive and exploratory visualizations of ecological data. They worked with over sixty years of data collected at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest (HBEF) in New Hampshire.

Ecosystem Data Visualization is a data visualization platform for the Hubbard Brook Watershed Ecosystem Record (HB-WER). The HB-WER is a record of the amount and the chemical composition of precipitation and streamwater for a series of forested watersheds in central New Hampshire, USA that dates back to 1963. Ever since the mid-1960's researchers have been taking weekly samples of rain, snow and streamwater to study what comes in and what leaves these watersheds. By looking at the difference between inputs and outputs, scientists have learned a great deal about how these forested ecosystems work as well as how human impacts like acid rain, deforestation and climate change are affecting them.

All code for the project is open-source and is available on GitHub.

Project History

Project Results: The team created a "data stories" website aimed at high school students and undergraduates in introductory ecology courses, with the goal of teaching canonical lessons using tangible data. They also used R Shiny to create an open-source exploratory dashboard which will allow researchers to examine data at various time scales, and to generate and test novel hypotheses.

Partially funded by the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies.

People Involved With The Project

  • Emily Bernhardt, Associate Professor of Biogeochemistry, Biology (Primary Investigator & Faculty Lead)
  • Richard Marinos, PhD Candidate, Nicholas School for the Environment (Project Manager)
  • Matthew Ross, PhD Candidate, Nicholas School for the Environment (Project Manager)
  • Gene E. Likens, President Emeritus, Ecologist, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies (Consultant)
  • Camila Vargas Restrepo, Undergraduate Student, Visual Media Studies & Psychology (Designer)
  • Annie Lott, Undergraduate Student, Statistical Science (Designer)
  • Devri Adams, Undergraduate Student, Environmental Science (Designer)

Download the Executive Summary

Project Video