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July 28, 2016

Connecting Users to Indian River Lagoon Data

Indian River Lagoon (IRL) is an estuary located along Florida east central coast. It is a hotspot for high biological diversity and recreational activities. Today, nearly 1 million people live and work in the IRL region.

Based on the IRL importance for ecosystem services and economics, many agencies and organizations collect IRL data. The data collected is sometimes fragmented across many systems and not publically shared.

A regional workshop – Connecting Users to IRL Data – was the first organized effort to address where IRL data is housed, what types of data are collected, how the data is used and whether or not scientists and agencies can do a better job of collecting, organizing, translating and sharing the data.

Pictured above is the IRL Workshop Steering Committee.

SECOORA’s RCOOS Program Manager, Vembu Subramanian, and Communications Specialist, Abbey Wakely, attended the workshop. Vembu served in the Workshop Steering Committee and also was a panelist on the “Data Collectors and It’s Users” panel. The panelists and workshop participants agreed that understanding who is collecting what type of data, whether the data is translated and where it is openly accessible, would promote greater understanding of potential gaps in data collection, proper use of the data for management decisions and a cooperative approach for data collection, translation and sharing.

The initiative also included a pre-workshop online survey to help define how we collect, use, translate and share data for the IRL. More than 95 data collectors and/or users completed the survey, revealing what data are available and what new pathways (e.g., social media, web publishing, file sharing and storage) will allow more effective data sharing and dissemination to end users. SECOORA worked with Co-Chairs and Steering Committee on helping formulate the data survey.

SECOORA is dedicated to collaborating with IRL scientists and data collectors to increase data accessibility. We are willing to discuss archiving and making datasets available online. Please send an email to Vembu Subramanian if you have interest in sharing your data with SECOORA.

Below are the consensus recommendations of the workshop and the summary of the online survey results.

The workshop agenda is available here.

The summary of the data survey is available here.

The final report with consensus recommendations for moving forward is available here.

Thank you Florida Atlantic University Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute for hosting!  Funding for the workshop was provided by the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute Foundation, Inc. and River Branch Foundation.