Michael Dietze

Faculty Research Fellow
Associate Professor, Earth & Environment

The Ecological Forecasting Initiative: An Interdisciplinary Symposium

Near-term ecological forecasting is an emerging research area focused on accelerating environmental research and making it more relevant to society. The goal of this symposium, and its follow-on activities, is to broaden the community of practice beyond ecologists and other environmental scientists to include a much wider, interdisciplinary community that includes social, computational, and physical scientists, as well as stakeholders from multiple industries (natural resources, computing, environmental sensing), federal agencies, and more. The aim of the symposium will be to foster dialogue, innovation, and new research directions. Following the symposium, a number of virtual working groups and a website will be launched, which will include a community bulletin board, educational materials (videos, activities, slides), an information clearinghouse (papers, figures, meeting notes), and a rotating blog with technical tutorials, descriptions of research activities, and more.


BS, Duke University; PhD, Duke University


Michael Dietze leads the Ecological Forecasting Laboratory at Boston University, whose mission is to better understand and predict ecological systems, and is author of the book “Ecological Forecasting”. He is interested in the ways that iterative forecasts, which are continually confronted with new data, can improve and accelerate basic science in ecology, while at the same time making that science more directly relevant to society. Much of the current work in the lab is organized within the Near-term Ecological Forecasting Initiative (NEFI) and the PEcAn project. NEFI is focused on addressing overarching questions about ecological predictability, while developing forecasts for a wide range of ecological processes (vegetation phenology and land-surface fluxes; ticks, tick-borne disease and small mammal hosts; soil microbiome; aquatic productivity and algal blooms) and advancing statistical and informatic tools for ecological forecasting. PEcAn is focused on the terrestrial carbon cycle, improving our capacity for carbon MRV (monitoring, reporting, verification), forecasting, data assimilation, and multi-model benchmarking and calibration within the land component of Earth System models.