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October 19, 2009

GLEON recap

Summary of GLEON 9 conference
Kyle Kwaiser, UMBS Information Manager
Camp Manito-Wish in Boulder Junction, Wisconsin.
October 12-16th, 2009

My overall impression is that the strength of GLEON (Global Lakes Ecological Observatory Network) is the collaborative energy brought by individual researchers. There were about 90 attendees at this conference with ~40% being first-time attendees. Given the relative inaccessibility of northern Wisconsin there were a good number of international scientists and information managers.

I observed a great deal of interest in our buoy deployment and believe it will benefit the UMBS to encourage our researchers/students to attend other GLEON conferences and lakes. A reoccurring theme from the LTER All Scientist Meeting was that I spent a lot of time introducing the UMBS (who, what, where). I enjoy talking up the UMBS but I think we need to work on getting our name out there more. I should not have to clarify that KBS is an MSU affiliate and that they work in an agricultural landscape. One possible solution to this is to request that UMBS researchers prominently display their connections to UMBS in papers and presentations. This point warrants further consideration.

GLEON is a young organization and I am interested to see how it copes with turnover in key staff (e.g., web and database developers) and whether or not the bottom-up structure leads to leadership gaps in important areas. That said, I believe there are avenues for UMBS folks (staff, researchers and students) to take leadership roles in this organization. This point also warrants further consideration.

UMBS GLEON membership:
After discussing the matter with Karie and Phil, I am going to begin the process to make UMBS a member of GLEON. There is a perfunctory process to becoming a GLEON member. Here is the application website to give you an idea of how simple it is.

Here is a map of current site members (notice Flathead and Archbold are currently members, RMBL does not appear to be). Individual membership is also a possibility and is something I believe we should encourage our researchers to do.

Potential membership benefits:
GLEON has funding for student travel within GLEON sites and separate funding for student-exchange program. This would be a good way to get our aquatics faculty/students interested.

Of course, our researchers would also be put into a good position to collaborate with groups that are collecting data similar to ours (assuming they take it upon themselves to attend GLEON conferences.)

GLEON offers technical assistance in data management and sensor deployment. Right now, MHL has the ability to cover these needs for us but additional support never hurts.

Data Turbine:
Data Turbine is essentially server software specifically designed for processing (e.g. QA/QC, plotting) and routing sensor data streams to websites and databases. It was originally developed by NASA for aeronautics sensors and a group at the San Diego Supercomputing Sensor has tailored it to environmental field sensors and tested it in Wisconsin lakes.

The Data Turbine group is currently looking for collaborators as the software has recently exited the testing phase and is entering the deployment phase. I am going to pass this information onto the Marine Hydrodynamics Lab who may find it useful with the U-GLOS system.

Sameer Tilak (stilak@ucsd.edu) is a developer on the project and would be a good contact if we chose to use Data Turbine for anything.

Information Technology working group:
I sat in on 3 of 4 meetings among this group. We discussed Technical Documentation needed for individual sites to stream buoy data to the GLEON website. I pressed fairly hard on this point but did not obtain much documentation. Apparently, said documents exist in rough draft form but I cannot verify it (I even volunteered to contribute to the documentation when we begin streaming data to GLEON!) I will continue to request the documentation and plan to get it before our buoy goes online.

Other conversations included the need to establish QA/QC protocols for incoming data. Currently, most of the data stored is raw. There is also a need for getting the most recent datasets from the individual sites into the GLEON database.

Two groups of researchers have published pan-GLEON studies. Neither of these studies used data from the GLEON database (they solicited data from individual sites) which highlights the need to improve this resource. Right now, GLEON has developed critical tools for data sharing but they are not mature enough and are not highly used by researchers. This is something to consider before as we begin streaming data to GLEON (i.e., how useful will it be to our researchers?).

The GLEON IT group has developed a controlled vocabulary list for use with lake data collection. The current vocab list is on the GLEON website. GLEON has also recently passed a data access policy. I have requested a copy to compare to our policy.

Miscellaneous:
I met John Lenters from the University of Nebraska will pass his contact information to Guy Meadows. John has deployed buoys year-round in the arctic and is involved in a buoy deployment on Granite Island on Lake Superior (north of Marquette.)

Craig Williamson at Miami of Ohio and his collaborators at Kent State recently received IGERT funding. They will be deploying lake buoys in the coming year(s) and are looking for additional collaborators. I am open to suggestions as to how best to evaluate if UMBS researchers could benefit from this.

That's it for now!

Posted by kkwaiser at October 19, 2009 10:11 AM

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