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An IM toolbox for the present and future to support data synthesis activities




Zeimet, Adam, author
Beer, Dianne, author
Norman, John, author
Kaplan, Nicole, author
Flynn, Bob, author
SGS-LTER, Colorado State University, publisher

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This poster displays four examples of topics and tools currently being implemented and developed by information management staff at the Shortgrass Steppe LTER, across the LTER Network and within USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS). These tools are necessary in order to synthesize similar data sets from different researchers, agencies, and institutions. These tools were designed provide to support to Principal Investigators, educators, students, and policy makers that need to synthesize information to make better decisions about planning their research, coursework and land management strategies. The four areas to be presented are Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and Remote Sensing, standardization of metadata using Ecological Metadata Language (EML), integration of relational database management systems for different agencies, and the creation of useful dynamic web pages. GIS and Remote Sensing are powerful tools that allow researchers to analyze, model, and predict ecological factors and outcomes that shape the shortgrass steppe by integrating spatial and non-spatial data collected at the field site. EML consists of a number of modules that define an extensible mark-up language (XML) that creates a standard syntax for ecological metadata. This concept allows for sharing of standard metadata and data across not only the LTER Network, but throughout the broader ecological community. SGS is researching new database technologies to managing the growing amount of standard non-spatial data from the ARS and LTER as well as GIS and Remote Sensed data. This also will address the need for multi-user data access and database integration with the SGS website. An SGS Website was launched 8 years ago to provide general site information as well as detailed research information. The web site will be enhanced over the next year to improve query tools, submit metadata online, improve integration with various ecological research databases, and implement the EML standards.


The SGS-LTER research site was established in 1980 by researchers at Colorado State University as part of a network of long-term research sites within the US LTER Network, supported by the National Science Foundation. Scientists within the Natural Resource Ecology Lab, Department of Forest and Rangeland Stewardship, Department of Soil and Crop Sciences, and Biology Department at CSU, California State Fullerton, USDA Agricultural Research Service, University of Northern Colorado, and the University of Wyoming, among others, have contributed to our understanding of the structure and functions of the shortgrass steppe and other diverse ecosystems across the network while maintaining a common mission and sharing expertise, data and infrastructure.
Colorado State University. Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory; Colorado State University. Department of Forest and Rangeland Stewardship; Colorado State University. Department of Soil and Crop Sciences; Colorado State University. Department of Biology; California State University, Fullerton; United States. Agricultural Research Service; University of Northern Colorado.

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shortgrass steppe
Central Plains Experimental Range
Pawnee National Grassland
long term ecological research
grassland ecology


Associated Publications