K. W. Bridges

University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii 96822-2279, USA

Multidisciplinary ecological research programs require both scientific themes and integrating technologies if they are to achieve the goal of true synthesis. The Internet provides a particularly powerful and relevant set of capabilities. Some of its tools, such as exchanging email, are already ubiquitous. Others facilities are in common use, such as the use of the World-Wide Web as a storehouse of project reports. Other Internet-based technologies hold considerable potential to promote close cooperation between researchers, but these Internet applications are less well known and are largely untested in field-oriented situations. They include the near real-time reporting of data, the storage and retrieval of high-resolution images, and the re-representation of synthesis information using color and interactivity. There are some distinct limitations to the Internet, as well. Access rarely reaches field sites, bandwidth is too limited in most regions and data formats (such as vector-based drawing) are still in a standards-setting stage. Nonetheless, we can glimpse over the development horizon and see that the Internet-based technologies will transform how we do cooperative field studies. Even now we can set goals that include the ‘just-in-time” training of researchers, better site familiarization, and more substantial sharing of information across disciplinary lines.


Abstract from: 43rd Symposium of the International Association for Vegetation Science, July 23-28, 2000, Nagano, Japan.

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Last Updated: 08/18/00