Dr. Rachel Gallery's innovative class, 'Ecoinformatics,' has been featured in the UANews. In collaboration with Kathryn Docherty and Western Michigan University, Ecoinformatics engaged students at both universities to combine technical learning, open science, and theoretical learning. Gallery and Docherty used videoconferencing, YouTube, and online tools provided by the iPlant Collaborative to promote collaboration and discussion between students at the UA and Western Michigan.
The course also taught students important skills related to scholarly publishing. "It was in many ways a professional development course," Gallery said. "We taught students concepts including how to write a manuscript, who deserves authorship and co-authorship, and how do you allocate those responsibilities?"
Mining open access data from the National Ecological Observation Network, the students analyzed datasets from from biomes in Utah, Hawaii, Alaska and Florida to detemine seasonal variation in vegetation and growing seasons. As a culmination of their work, the students wrote a research article for the open access journal PLOS ONE.