Colorado mountains

Quantifying Uncertainty in Ecosystem Studies

Working Group Reports
Final reports: 

The calculation of pools and fluxes at ecosystem scales has advanced our understanding of water, carbon, and nutrient cycling.  However, uncertainty due to variability or error in observations and models has rarely been reported in ecosystem budgets. Known confidence is essential to determining rates of change over time and comparing results across multiple sites.  Failure to address uncertainties can lead to erroneous conclusions, for example in identifying missing sources and sinks. Uncertainty analyses can also help to improve efficiency in ecosystem monitoring efforts, allowing sampling designs to maximize information gained relative to the resources required for data collection and analysis.  A working group called QUEST (Quantifying Uncertainty in Ecosystem Studies) was recently established to better address the issue of uncertainty in biogeochemical studies (  The goal of this workshop is to invite LTER researchers to contribute to uncertainty analyses in ecosystem studies.  We will have one hour of short presentations on approaches to uncertainty in estimating nutrient pools and fluxes (precipitation, stream water, soils and forest biomass).  The second hour will be devoted to discussion of these issues, including attention to gaps as a source of uncertainty and the effect of monitoring intensity on trend analysis.  We expect to attract new collaborators for ongoing efforts and also to define new topics for analysis.  The workshop will promote and support development and application of uncertainty analyses in ecosystem budgets

Ruth Yanai
John Campbell
Carrie Rose Levine
Preferred date(s): 
Sept 11
Number of 2 hour sessions requested: 
Equipment requested: 
LCD projector
Working Group Materials
Room Assignment: 
Wind River C (100)

Background Photo by: Nicole Hansen - Jornada (JRN) LTER