Macrosystems EDDIE: Teaching Ecological Forecasting to Undergraduates

In conjunction with the Joint Aquatic Sciences Meeting 2022

May 15, 2022, 1-5pm ET Grand Rapids, MI

About this Experience

In this workshop we will introduce instructors to newly created teaching modules on Ecological Forecasting.These materials takeastructured approach to helping undergraduate students learn to apply the iterative forecasting cycle to develop an ecological forecast for a NEON site and practice creating forecasts that are effectively designed and communicated to managers and the public. This workshop can be taken as a stand alone session, or in series with the Teaching Quantitative Reasoning workshop held just before on the same day. Registration will be through the JASM meeting website.

Workshop Overview


Ecological forecasting is an emerging approach which provides an estimate of the future state of an ecological system with uncertainty, allowing society to better manage important ecosystem services. Ecological forecasts are a powerful test of the scientific method because ecologists make a hypothesis of how an ecological system works; embed their hypothesis in a model; use the model to make a forecast of future conditions; and then assess the accuracy of their forecast, which indicates if their hypothesis is supported or needs to be updated. Consequently, freshwater ecologists are increasingly using ecological forecasts to predict how ecosystems are changing, but to date there have been few opportunities for receiving training in ecological forecasting at the undergraduate level.

Our team is developing teaching modules to teach the foundational concepts of ecological forecasting to undergraduates with R Shiny apps as part of the Macrosystems EDDIE (Environmental Data-Driven Inquiry & Exploration; We use large, publicly-available freshwater datasets from NEON and GLEON to engage students in ecology and improve their quantitative reasoning. Each module can be adapted for use in introductory, intermediate, and advanced courses to enhance students' understanding of freshwater ecology, macrosystems ecology, and ecological forecasting. In this workshop, we will provide an overview of the Macrosystems EDDIE modules to instructors.

Workshop Facilitators & Technical Support

Tadhg Moore (tadhgm[at], Virginia Tech

Whitney Woelmer, Virginia Tech

Mary Lofton, Virginia Tech

Cayelan Carey, Virginia Tech

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