Ecosystem Informatics at Oregon State University

Ecosystem Informatics



Ecosystem Informatics (EI) established a unique presence at Oregon State University at both the graduate and undergraduate levels with support from the National Science Foundation. By seeking common ground among ecology, engineering, and mathematical sciences, participants in EI worked at the interface among their disciplines to explore alternative frameworks for understanding ecological processes.  In the process mathematical scientists and engineers gained access to challenging new problems, while ecologists gained profound insights that expanded and sometimes fundamentally altered their conceptual frameworks, contributing to improved management of ecosystems.

Graduate Curriculum

The EI IGERT, established in 2004, bought students majoring in ecology, earth science, computer science, engineering, and mathematics together for a series of courses (an interdisciplinary minor in EI), colloquia, a shared field experience, and annual retreats, evaluations, and meetings with an external advisory board of prominent researchers and educators.  The program was open to all graduate students, and the EI IGERT provided 30 PhD students with a stipend, tuition, a 6-month internship, and a research allowance. 

Undergraduate Curriculum

The Eco-informatics Summer Institute (EISI), established in 2006, provided advanced undergraduates and early graduate students with a ten-week research experience at the Andrews Forest. This program brought together students from many institutions as interdisciplinary groups from disciplines including mathematics, computer science, ecology, earth science, and engineering to work on a common research project over the summer. The program also included formal coursework on Field Methods in Environmental Monitoring, professional development seminars and specific activities to develop leadership and group collaboration skills.  The EISI is currently active.