Beyond Ecosystem Modeling: A Roadmap to Community Cyberinfrastructure for Ecological Data-Model Integration

Istem Fer, Anthony K Gardella, Alexey N Shiklomanov, Eleanor E Campbell, Elizabeth M Cowdery, Martin G De Kauwe, Ankur Desai, Matthew J Duveneck, Joshua B Fisher, Katherine D Haynes, Forrest M Hoffman, Miriam R Johnston, Rob Kooper, David S LeBauer, Joshua Mantooth, William Parton, Benjamin Poulter, Tristan Quaife, Ann Raiho, Kevin SchaeferShawn P Serbin, James Simkins, Kevin R Wilcox, Toni Viskari, Michael C Dietze

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In an era of rapid global change, our ability to understand and predict Earth's natural systems is lagging behind our ability to monitor and measure changes in the biosphere. Bottlenecks to informing models with observations have reduced our capacity to fully exploit the growing volume and variety of available data. Here, we take a critical look at the information infrastructure that connects ecosystem modeling and measurement efforts, and propose a roadmap to community cyberinfrastructure development that can reduce the divisions between empirical research and modeling and accelerate the pace of discovery. A new era of data-model integration requires investment in accessible, scalable, and transparent tools that integrate the expertise of the whole community, including both modelers and empiricists. This roadmap focuses on five key opportunities for community tools: the underlying foundations of community cyberinfrastructure; data ingest; calibration of models to data; model-data benchmarking; and data assimilation and ecological forecasting. This community-driven approach is a key to meeting the pressing needs of science and society in the 21st century.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-26
Number of pages14
JournalGlobal change biology
Issue number1
Early online dateOct 19 2020
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • accessibility
  • benchmarking
  • community cyberinfrastructure
  • data
  • data assimilation
  • ecosystem models
  • interoperability
  • reproducibility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Ecology
  • Environmental Chemistry


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