Some activities that took place this summer!

This summer has been busy with the return of in-person events. This blog post is a look back at a few notable events for several members of the BIOS2 community. Indeed, we met (and/or met for the first time) at the Ecological Society of America 2022 annual meeting held in Montreal in August, as well as at the annual BIOS2 summer school in biodiversity modeling, which had as its theme Biodiversity Change and Data Visualization. In addition, two working groups organized by members of the BIOS2 program were held in Sherbrooke in May and in Montreal in August.

Computing biology or biology computing?

Text written by William Ou, PhD candidate at UBC and BIOS2 Fellow since 2021.

Just before the start of the spring term, my supervisor asked if I would be interested in giving a guest lecture on computational ecology at her Ecological Methodology class. She knew I was interested in teaching and that simulation-based research methods are becoming popular but lacking in the course syllabus, so she figured it would be a great opportunity for everyone.

Forecasting biodiversity: A matter of data availability

In a previous post, we briefly discussed our internship experience with GEO BON, in which we developed a forecasting model of local contributions to beta diversity (LCBD) at the regional scale, using communities of warblers species in Quebec and Colombia as a case study. The first part of our endeavor was getting access to data. As typical grad students in quantitative ecology, we used data mostly openly available on the internet. As mentioned in the previous post, for species occurrence, we used data from the eBird database, while environmental and land-use data were obtained from the CHELSA database and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory Distributed Active Archive Center (ORNL DAAC), respectively. While these datasets are openly available, the steps required to actually use them and the digital space they occupy could represent a challenge for someone unfamiliar with such a task.

Forecasting biodiversity: Our internship experience with GEO BON

We recently completed a two-month internship with The Group on Earth Observations Biodiversity Observation Network (GEO BON). Its headquarters having recently moved to Montreal, we immediately wanted to be part of this new chapter by contributing to a project as exciting as it is ambitious: an integrated biodiversity information system. GEO BON is indeed currently developing such an information system that would, among other things, provide real-time estimates of many biodiversity indicators at the planetary scale. Another purpose of GEO BON’s information system is to facilitate the conduction of biodiversity forecasts under different socioeconomic scenarios and enhance the plausibility and precision of these models.

What we did this summer

This summer is weird. But we hope you are all safe and taking care of yourselves, and enjoying it as you can! We already did a lot of things in the last couple of weeks and this blog post is about remembering these good things and hoping for better days with more computational ecology training and community calls!

Blog: A Journey with Data Trekkers

Story of an internship by Gracielle Higino, Gabriel Dansereau and Francis Banville

Back in 2019, which feels like decades ago, we started a humble project in the Poisot lab which we called Code Hour. The goal was to set weekly hours to practice Julia, since we were all learning to use it and we could greatly benefit from each other’s help and encouragement. The project went well (although we frequently ended up spending much more than one hour). It “spilled” out of our lab and found enthusiasm at IVADO, who already had plans to promote a challenge in which participants would make a commitment to code for 100 days. That’s when our internship was born.