Biodiversity Science ›› 2016, Vol. 24 ›› Issue (1): 85-94.doi: 10.17520/biods.2015150

• Orginal Article • Previous Article     Next Article

Trends and challenges of ecosystem observations in the age of big data

Shengqi Dai, Bin Zhao*()   

  1. Coastal Ecosystems Research Station of the Yangtze River Estuary, Ministry of Education Key Laboratory for Biodiversity Science and Ecological Engineering, Fudan University, Shanghai 200438
  • Received:2015-06-03 Accepted:2015-09-05 Online:2016-06-12
  • Zhao Bin E-mail:zhaobin@fudan.edu.cn

With the development of observation technology, the scale of ecological research is increasing. Ecological observations have turned from small-scale, short-time individual observations into broad-scale, long-term, interdisciplinary, multi-factor group observations. Innovation in sensor techniques has led to a profound evolution in time and space precision of ecological observations, while the volume, type, and generating speed of these observational data are increasing, which indicates that traditional ecological data acquisition, storage and management methods cannot afford the demands of modern ecological research. With the assistance of new big data storage, management and processing techniques, integrated with the Internet of Ecology, a citizen science observational network and standardized data management network, we can build an ecological observation system to resolve these issues. The concept to provide a one-station ecological observation service to researchers represents the general trend of the development of ecological observations in the age of big data.

Key words: sensors, observation network, internet of things, citizen science, social network

Table 1

Introduction to typical instruments carried by an eddy carbon flux observation tower, their measure parameters and data flux"

仪器名称
Instrument name
测量参数
Measure parameters
工作频率
Operating frequency
数据流量
Data flow
二氧化碳与水汽浓度测量仪
Carbon dioxide and vapor analyzer (LI-7500A)
CO2, 水汽浓度与气温等
Carbon dioxide, vapor solution, temperature, etc.
每秒采集20次
Measure frequency at 20 Hz
每秒15 KB
15 KB/s
甲烷浓度测量仪
Methane analyzer (LI-7700)
CH4浓度
Methane solution in the air
每秒采集50次
Measure frequency at 50 Hz
每秒10 KB
10 KB/s
Gill 风速测量仪
Gill windmaster Pro
三维风速
3-dimensional wind speed
每秒采集10-20次
Measure frequency at 10-20 Hz
每秒5 KB
5 KB/s
CMP3与PQS1辐射测量探头
CMP3 & PQS1 radiation sensor
太阳辐射与光合有效辐射
Solar radiation & photosynthetic active radiation
30分钟采集1次
Measure once per 30 minutes
每天2 KB
2 KB/day
109号土温测量探头
No. 109 soil temperature sensor
多层土壤温度
Multi-layer soil temperature
30分钟采集1次
Measure once per 30 minutes
每天20 KB
20 KB/day
物候观测摄像头
Phenological observation cameras
站点周围物候变化
Phenological change around the station
每天拍摄2次
Two shoots per day
每天6 MB
6 MB/day
复合数据采集器
Integrated data logger (CR5000, Li7550)
收集所有仪器数据
Collection of all observation data
每秒汇总10次
Collection frequency at 10 Hz
每个月4 GB左右
Around 4 GB/month

Fig. 1

Sketch map for the sensor matrix that acquires data from nature. The sensor matrix contains multifunctional sensors which can efficiently fetch environmental data. For its high data collection speed, this data collection system has brought challenges to the downward data processing works."

Fig. 2

Global total data volume in contrast with the ability of data storage. Early in 2008, the data collected by sensors could not be completely stored (Baraniuk, 2011). It is estimated that the total data volume will be twice bigger than the storage ability in 2015."

Table 2

Outstanding projects that intended to integrate multiple-source data"

项目名称
Project name
数据库状态 Database status
数据接口
Data portal
开放获取
Open access
引用规则
Citing rules
整合数据集的关键元数据标签
The key metadata tag of data integration
长期生态学研究网络
The Long Term Ecological Research Network (LTER)https://www.lternet.edu/
单个接口
Single data portal
完全开放
Completely open
引用数据集DOI
Cite the DOI of dataset
站点名称, 数据包编号, 地理位置, 发布单位等
Site name, package identifier, spatial location, publisher name, etc.
国家生态学观测网络
The National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) https://www.neoninc.org/
单个接口
Single data portal
完全开放
Completely open
引用NEON名称
Cite the name of NEON
日期, 站点名称, 行政州名, NEON地域划分, 数据集主题
Date, site name, state name, NEON domain, dataset subject
全球生物多样性信息中心
Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) https://www.gbif.org/
单个接口
Single data portal
完全开放
Completely open
引用数据集DOI
Cite the DOI of dataset
数据集名称, 关键词, 发布单位, 国家等
Dataset name, key words, publisher, country, etc.
全球观测系统信息中心
Global Observing System Information System (GOSIC) https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/gosic
多个接口
Multiple data portals
部分开放
Partly open
联系数据集发布者
Contact the dataset publisher
子项目名称, 数据集名称
Name of the child project, name of dataset

Fig. 3

Traditional Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs) and the Internet of Ecology (IoE). In this figure, different types of circles stand for different types of sensors. Traditional WSNs have its data flow in hierarchical tree shape, with single data direction and function sensors inside. The IoE supports mutual communication between the sensors, these internet based sensors are equipped with comprehensive data processing functions, which can share information throughout the network, feedback regulate the parameters in measurement and pre-process the data."

Fig. 4

The life cycle of ecosystem observation data. The adoption of the IoE, citizen science, universal data format, social network for data open-access and the control system of data version can improve the life cycle of ecosystem observation data, which also builds a virtuous circle for the development of ecology."

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