Ecoinformatics is the science of information in Ecology and Environmental science. It aims to a synthesis of the sciences of the environment and of information that defines the entities and processes of natural systems in a language that both humans and computers can process. Data about natural systems are heterogeneous, scattered and uncoordinated. Ecoinformatics aims to facilitate environmental research and management by developing ways to not only access, but also integrate databases of environmental information and computational services such as predictive models, analytical, and planning tools.
The Ecoinformatics Collaboratory, part of the Gund Institute for Ecological Economics at the University of Vermont, is committed to unifying the science and management of the natural and human environment in a new synthesis inspired by the latest developments of information technology. In an age of increased realization of the close feedback between humans and the environment, and of the responsibility that this entails, we are contributing novel technologies, openly accessible data and models, and innovative education to promote a breakthrough in the effectiveness of environmental research, decision-making and policy-making.
The Ecoinformatics Collaboratory seeks to empower students, researchers and decision makers with concepts and tools that make handling and communicating natural system knowledge as natural and intuitive as working with written documents, e-mail, and spreadsheets. We are working towards this goal in the following ways:
|Develop integrative, open source technologies to allow intuitive, uniform representation of data, models, and policies, and to enable their exploration, retrieval, and perusal through the familiar mechanisms of the World Wide Web - the most pervasive technological achievement of this generation. In our vision, the role of the Web will switch from a loosely indexed, unstructured "encyclopedia" to an open collaboratory where knowledge can be not only located without ambiguity, but also explored, produced, and communicated. We need the web to provide guided, coherent pathways that can guide effective learning - for students, researchers, and decision-makers.
|Produce peer-reviewed, first-class data, models, and collaborative planning tools for a multidisciplinary area encompassing ecology, economics, sociology and policy-making, and make them accessible in unprecedented ways.
|Offer high-quality education in ecoinformatics for the UVM community and beyond, to empower the next generation of actors on the environment with novel intellectual and technological tools, closing the language gap between the sciences of the environment and the science of information.
|Promote and participate to the definition of open, accepted standards that address and solve issues of scale and representational paradigm, and result in simpler concepts and interoperable data and models.|
The University of Vermont's Ecoinformatics collaboratory and the Gund Institute for Ecological Economics are part of a wide coordinated network of individuals, projects, and institutions that share the same goals.
Feel free to explore our projects, our collaborations, and our teaching offers on this site. We also maintain a separate web site for more advanced topics in integrated modelling at www.integratedmodelling.org. Many sections of our collaborative wiki space are open for discussion. And of course, feedback is always appreciated.