Alison Appling, PhD, is a Data Scientist for the USGS Water Resources Mission Area.
I am passionate about the process of transforming data into understanding. I participate in that process in two ways: As an ecologist and biogeochemist, I study the movement of energy, carbon, and nutrients through rivers, lakes, and floodplains to better understand how those ecosystems function. As a science communicator, I build interactive web-based data visualizations that tell a broader public audience about USGS research and activities.
What these data-rich projects have in common is that they require a lot of creativity, expertise, and collaboration...but also a lot of grunt work, because our datasets are often large and messy. My focus as a data scientist is on minimizing the grunt work in the data transformation process. To do this, I find existing software tools that support efficient data pipelines, build new tools when needed, and identify common patterns that help scientists to use those tools effectively. I share these tools and ideas primarily through collaboration with research and visualization teams, and occasionally via formal training efforts.
Science and Products
Science and Products
Pre-USGS PublicationsL. A. Winslow, S. Chamberlain, A. P. Appling, and J. S. Read. 2016. sbtools: A Package Connecting R to Cloud-based Data for Collaborative Online Research. The R Journal, 8(1).J. S. Read, J. I. Walker, A. P. Appling, D. L. Blodgett, E. K. Read, and L. A. Winslow. 2015. geoknife: reproducible web-processing of large gridded datasets. Ecography. https://doi.org/10.1111/ecog.01880S.A. Sistla, A. P. Appling, A. M. Lewandowska, B. N. Taylor, and A. A. Wolf. 2015. Stoichiometric flexibility in response to fertilization along gradients of environmental and organismal nutrient richness. Oikos, 124: 949-959. https://doi.org/10.1111/oik.02385A. P. Appling, M. C. Leon, and W. H. McDowell. 2015. Reducing bias and quantifying uncertainty in watershed flux estimates: The R package loadflex. Ecosphere 6(12):269. https://doi.org/10.1890/ES14-00517.1A. P. Appling and J. B. Heffernan. 2014. Nutrient limitation and physiology mediate the fine-scale [de]coupling of biogeochemical cycles. The American Naturalist 184:384-406. https://doi.org/10.1086/677282A. P. Appling, E. S. Bernhardt, and J. A. Stanford. 2014. Floodplain biogeochemical mosaics: a multidimensional view of alluvial soils. Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences 119:2013JG002543. https://doi.org/10.1002/2013JG002543