tweet your data

Well, my mind has been blown. Fisheries analysis based on tweets?! How cool! In the age of LTER (n.b. I work for the sbc lter), the comingn of NEON, etc., it’s nice to see an innovative of getting large quantities of data from outside of the academic box.

And I can think of a myriad of field science/twitter uses:

  • oceanography: get boaters to tweet for a temperature reading with a lat/long and ocean color
  • rare species ecology: have hikers tweet every time they go on a trail, and tweet again if they see something rare
  • subtidal ecology: have divers tweet when/where they go, and some qualitative measure of diversity or abundance of target speciesAnd, really, this could probably be subsidized by 10 cents per tweet or something to get buy-in. Algorithmically, catching cheaters shouldn’t be too hard (outlier analysis, etc).

    Sounds like an interesting NCEAS kind of idea….

    (via the oyster’s garter)

  • Bringing the grey to light


    Want to know what happens when a fish is sucked into a powerplant intake from both the technical and fish’s point of view? Curious about what some of the legends in the field of taxonomy were writing when they were undergraduates? Want to track down every single fish gut contents record in the Pacific Northwest for the last century?

    Wonder no more! The gray literature, formerly that stuff that scientists hold in vague contempt but often turn to for absolutely crucial basic information, is now starting to come online.

    I discovered this talking to the amazing library staff at Moss Landing Marine Lab. There, they are part of an effort called Aquatic Commons, which is putting reports online from a variety of US and international agencies. MLML is specifically working up the California Department of Fish and Game collection.

    This is in turn feeding into Avano, a marine and aquatic science literature search engine which hits both the grey and the white literature.

    And there really are some gems, such as Don Abbbott’s undergrad report on the littoral ascidians of Monterey Bay before he went on to co-author Intertidal Invertebrates of California, early studies of the impact of the Diablo Canyon power plant which shaped much of how we monitor biological impacts,or, my personal favorite, Purgatorio – two rather different views of the same event which I excerpt from below:

    When Italian Film Stars Go Prawn

    Ah, Isabella Rosellini. After enlightening us last year to the strange proclivities of all manner of garden invertebrates, she’s back, filling us in on how animals, like Crepidula fornicata get down in the ocean.

    Now I’ve heard it all before, but there’s something about these bizarre little trinkets that is both beautiful, and could really wake up an invert zoo class full of sleepy students. It even has the obligatory barnacle video.

    It’s like David Lynch, Julie Taymor, and my copy of Brusca & Brusca had a baby.

    Enjoy! Oh, and, if you’re not a biologist, it’s more than a tad not safe for work.