HCIL-2006-24

Parr, C., Lee, B., Bederson, B.
September 2006
EcoLens: Integration and Interactive Visualization of Ecological Datasets, Journal of Ecological Informatics, Elsevier, 2 (1), 61-69, 2007.
HCIL-2006-24
Complex multi-dimensional datasets are now pervasive in science and elsewhere in society. Better interactive tools are needed for visual data exploration so that patterns in such data may be easily discovered, data can be proofread, and subsets of data can be chosen for algorithmic analysis. In particular, synthetic research such as ecological inter-action research demands effective ways to examine multiple datasets. This paper describes our integration of hun-dreds of food web datasets into a common platform, and the visualization software, EcoLens, we developed for ex-ploring this information. This publicly-available application and integrated dataset have been useful for our research predicting large complex food webs, and EcoLens is favorably reviewed by other researchers. Many habitats are not well represented in our large database. We confirm earlier results about the small size and lack of taxonomic resolu-tion in early food webs but find that they and a non-food-web source provide trophic information about a large num-ber of taxa absent from more modern studies. Corroboration of Tuesday Lake trophic links across studies is usually possible, but lack of links among congeners may have several explanations. While EcoLens does not provide all kinds of analytical support, its label and item-based approach is effective at addressing concerns about the compara-bility and taxonomic resolution of food web data. Keywords: food webs, visualization, data integration, taxonomy
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