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Conceptual data modeling of wildlife response indicators to ecosystem change in the Arctic

August 6, 2015

Large research studies are often challenged to effectively expose and document the types of information being collected and the reasons for data collection across what are often a diverse cadre of investigators of differing disciplines. We applied concepts from the field of information or data modeling to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Changing Arctic Ecosystems (CAE) initiative to prototype an application of information modeling. The USGS CAE initiative is collecting information from marine and terrestrial environments in Alaska to identify and understand the links between rapid physical changes in the Arctic and response of wildlife populations to these ecosystem changes. An associated need is to understand how data collection strategies are informing the overall science initiative and facilitating communication of those strategies to a wide audience. We explored the use of conceptual data modeling to provide a method by which to document, describe, and visually communicate both enterprise and study level data; provide a simple means to analyze commonalities and differences in data acquisition strategies between studies; and provide a tool for discussing those strategies among researchers and managers.

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