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.

The time I talked about data bias at the BES annual meeting – Gracielle Higino

For someone who started the year of 2019 not quite believing in my own research, being in an international conference in December showcasing my latest results and making people intrigued by what I’ve found was a huge leap.

From December 10th-13th I was in the BES Annual Meeting in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and the first morning was a landmark in my career. It was the first time I was in an international conference, and the first time I had the chance to make an oral presentation about my research. Giving that the days before the meeting I was extremely stressed about not having the results I wanted, the first thing I learned was that, in science, every bit of result counts.