Macrosystems ecology is the study of ecological dynamics at multiple interacting spatial and temporal scales. Macrosystems ecology recently emerged as a new sub-discipline of ecology to study ecosystems and ecological communities around the globe that are changing at an unprecedented rate because of human activities. The responses of ecosystems and communities are complex, non-linear, and driven by feedbacks across local, regional, and global scales. Scientists are increasingly using sensor-collected, high-frequency and long-term datasets to study environmental processes. Today's students need to understand how to manipulate and interpret these data, including how to use simulation modeling to understand complex ecological feedbacks and predict ecosystem responses to changes in drivers at local to continental scales.
The Macrosystems EDDIE (Environmental Data-Driven Inquiry & Exploration) interdisciplinary team is developing flexible classroom modules that introduce undergraduate students to the core concepts of macrosystems ecology and simulation modeling through the lens of limnology. Each module utilizes long-term, high-frequency, and sensor-based datasets from diverse, publicly-accessible sources, including the Global Lakes Ecological Observatory Network (GLEON), the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the Long Term Ecological Research Network (LTER), and the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON).
While these modules are not currently using data from NEON sites, modules will be updated to include data from NEON aquatic sites as it becomes available. If you are interested in further adapting any of these modules to use NEON data, please contact the Macrosystems EDDIE team or the NEON Data Skills team.
Each module can be adapted for use in introductory, intermediate, and advanced courses in ecology and related fields, in order to enhance students' understanding of macrosystems ecology, their computational skills, and their ability to conduct inquiry-based studies. All modules are hosted on the Macrosystems EDDIE website.