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WAES 2011

Workshop for Aquatic Ecosystem Sustainability (WAES)

June 13-14, 2011 Marina del Rey, CA

Final Workshop Report

The final workshop report is available from here. An executive summary is available from here.


The combination of environmental science (biologists, ecologists, hydrologists, oceanographers) and engineering with information technology has placed us on the verge of transformative scientific discovery in aquatic ecosystems. Cyberobservatory advancements such as NEON, OOI, and CZO provide large data streams that characterize the physical, chemical, and biological states and state changes associated with critical aquatic and terrestrial habitats. Despite tremendous advances in shared cyberinfrastructure, the scientific method—hypothesize, observe, analyze, interpret—remains bogged down by myriad manual and routine data analysis processes aimed at separating environmental variability from the phenomena of interest. To truly enable transformative science, the time and effort required for these processes must be lowered in order to substantially compress the timeframe of observatory-scale analysis.

The goal of this workshop is to develop a vision for aquatic ecosystems research that will accelerate advances in modeling and discovery through software innovations. Participants will include domain experts in aquatic ecosystems as well as computer scientists with relevant backgrounds that include sensor networks, workflow technologies, information integration, and intelligent user interfaces. Participants will learn about existing workflow technologies that aim to capture analytic processes to make them more efficient and repeatable. By analyzing the processes and tools involved in the scientific discovery cycle, we will expose current bottlenecks and elicit requirements for necessary software capabilities for this research community. Participants will also formulate a vision of how the sustainability of aquatic ecosystems would be significantly transformed if such capabilities were made available to researchers.

The result of this workshop will be a written report authored by interested participants, and a follow-on submission to a relevant journal.


Go to the "Documents" tab to find slides and breakout session reports

Monday June 13, 2011

  • 8:30-9:00 Continental breakfast
  • 9:00-9:30 Welcome, introductions, and workshop goals
  • 9:30-10:00 Long-term goals for aquatic ecosystems sustainability, Tom Harmon
  • 10:00-10:15 Discussion
  • 10:15-10:30 Break
  • 10:30-11:30 Brief presentations of current challenges, All participants
  • 11:30-12:00 Planning breakout topics
  • 12:00-1:00 Lunch (provided)
  • 1:00-2:30 Breakout sessions (First theme)
  • 2:30-2:45 Break, write session reports
  • 2:45-3:30 Reports from breakout groups (First theme)
  • 3:30-5:00 Breakout sessions (Second theme)
  • 5:00-5:15 Break, write session reports
  • 5:15-6:00 Reports from breakout groups (Second theme)
  • 6:30-9:30 Group dinner at Chef Hannes (directions)

Tuesday June 14, 2011

  • 8:00-8:30 Continental breakfast
  • 8:30-9:00 Workflows, semantics, provenance, metadata
  • 9:00-9:30 Planning new breakout topics
  • 9:30-11:00 Breakout sessions (Third theme)
  • 11:00-11:15 Break, write session reports
  • 11:15-12:00 Reports from breakout groups
  • 12:00-12:30 Synthesis
  • 12:30-1:30 Lunch (provided)
  • 1:30-3:00 Synthesis (continued)
  • 3:00-5:00 Writing


The workshop will be held at the Information Sciences Institute of the University of Southern California. ISI is located off-campus and 5 mins from the Los Angeles International Airport.

View on Google Maps


Attendance to this workshop is by invitation only. There is no fee for attending the workshop.


Tom Harmon
  • Environmental engineering and science
  • Sensor networks
  • Understanding, modeling and managing process in soil, groundwater and surface water.
Yolanda Gil
  • Knowledge technologies
  • Intelligent user interfaces
  • Semantic workflows
  • Provenance and metadata
Ewa Deelman
  • Computational workflows
  • Grid resource management
  • Scalable distributed systems
  • Large-scale data processing
Craig Knoblock
  • Information integration
  • Information extraction
  • Semantic modeling of data sources
  • Geospatial data integration.
Terry Benzel
  • Sensor networks
  • Remote sensor configuration
  • Sensor data transfer protocols
  • Cybersecurity
Pedro Szekely
  • Learning from user demonstrations
  • Intelligent user interfaces
  • Data integration


  • Matt Becker, Department of Geological Sciences, California State University Long Beach,
  • Terry Benzel, Information Sciences Institute, University of Southern California,
  • Amy Braverman, Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL),
  • Dan Crichton, Program Manager, Data Systems and Technology, Earth Science and Technology, Jet Propulsion Laboratory,
  • Todd Crowl, Department of Watershed Sciences, Utah State University,
  • Ewa Deelman, Information Sciences Institute, University of Southern California,
  • Yolanda Gil, Information Sciences Institute, University of Southern California,
  • Stephanie Granger, Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL),
  • Qinghua Guo, School of Engineering, University of California Merced,
  • Paul Hanson, Center for Limnology, University of Wisconsin at Madison,
  • Tom Harmon, School of Engineering, University of California Merced,
  • Andreas Hofmann, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI),
  • Burt Jones, Biology Department, University of Southern California,
  • Craig Knoblock, Information Sciences Institute, University of Southern California,
  • Mike McCann, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI),
  • Timothy Stough, Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL),
  • Pedro Szekely, Information Sciences Institute, University of Southern California,
  • Ryan Utz, National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON), Aquatic/STREON,
  • Sandra Villamizar, School of Engineering, University of California Merced,


The workshop is sponsored by the Information Sciences Institute and the UC Merced School of Engineering. The University of Southern California's Information Sciences Institute (ISI) is a world leader in many areas of computer science such as computer networks, distributed systems, and artificial intelligence. Part of USC's Viterbi School of Engineering, ISI is known for excellence in basic and applied research.

UC Merced is the first new American research university in the 21st century, with a mission of research, teaching and service.

Final Workshop Report

The final workshop report is available from here. An executive summary is available from here.

Pre-Workshop Statements Submitted by Workshop Participants

Workshop Introduction

Presentations by workshop participants

First Breakout Session Reports

Second Breakout Session Reports

Synthesis Discussions

Third Breakout Session Reports