Ecology Center and Department of Biology, Utah State University, Utah, USA

Will is an evolutionary ecologist based in Utah, USA.

Collaboration statement

My lab uses species evolutionary history to better understand and predict their present-day ecology. We develop new statistical and computational tools to answer fundamental questions about the origins and future of biodiversity. In particular, and in the context of the Open Traits Network, I’m interested in talking about:

  • Synthesising datasets. My lab has developed a series of packages that Make A Database (MAD) of ecological community (MADcomm) and ecological trait (MADtraits) data. These packages are designed to make it straightforward to share, and use, data, while ensuring the data collectors (not just synthesisers!) get credit for their efforts.
  • Automated trait collection. Careful, reproducible trait collection is important, and we develop software to help automate that process. If done correctly, this is a win-win for everyone: trustworthy, reproducible data with an audit trail. We have made attempts at this for plant leaf traits and birdsong.
  • Manual trait measurements. We have been collecting plant traits at our fieldsites (‘Right-Hand Fork’) in Utah for several years now, and measuring pinned/preserved specimens of macro-invertebrates.