The New York City-based Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has announced a $700,000 grant to the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) at the University of California, Santa Barbara, to support the development of an accessible, online network of the world's ecological knowledge.
According to NCEAS director Jim Reichman, only a small fraction of the ecological knowledge collected by scientists has ever been published in a form available to the research community; the bulk of it remains inaccessible in laboratories, museums, agencies, and libraries all over the world. NCEAS will use the grant from Mellon to support its identification of ecological data systems to incorporate into its Network of Biocomplexity, a data management system that allows scientists and researchers to access and share ecological information.
"Ultimately, scientists everywhere will be able to conduct larger-scale studies involving urgent issues that have been intractable because the information couldn't be accessed effectively," said Reichman, a professor of ecology, evolution, and marine biology. "What they discover will be of inestimable value not only to other scientists and students but also to urban planners, resource managers, policymakers, and the public."