Uncertainty Analysis: A Critical Step in Ecological Synthesis
Monday, August 5, 2013: 1:30 PM-5:00 PM
101E, Minneapolis Convention Center
Mark E. Harmon
John J. Battles
Ecology is entering an exciting era in which the number and availability of long-term data sets are increasing exponentially. There is an unprecedented need to synthesize these data to address current scientific and societal problems. Great progress has been made on linking data and theory, including spatial integration and interdisciplinary combination. The question is no longer how to synthesize, but how well we are linking information from disparate sources and how to indentify the most important areas for improvement. These synthetic approaches will demand increased proficiency and rigor in uncertainty analysis, to provide a metric of progress in synthesis science.
This OOS will highlight current developments in uncertainty estimation across many fields of ecology and provide guidance for large-scale synthesis research. Speakers will be encouraged to provide recommendations for standardized approaches to uncertainty estimation and a vision for meeting future needs. Further development, understanding, and dissemination of the latest statistical techniques for deriving these estimates will both inform ecological sampling design and equip up-and-coming ecologists with critical skills.
Speakers will examine sources of uncertainty and its general role in synthesis science. Case studies will include a range of topics and approaches ranging from population ecology and small watershed nutrient cycling budgets to landscape carbon budgets. Methodologies presented will include parametric statistical approaches, bootstrap analysis, Monte Carlo sampling, and Bayesian hierarchical analysis. Uncertainty introduced by spatial and temporal interpolation are common themes across scales from plots to the continental ecological observatory network.