Last semester, Fralin Life Sciences affiliated faculty members Cayelan Carey, Quinn Thomas, and Leah Johnson organized the inaugural Ecological Forecasting Project’s Fall Forecasting Fest and Feast at the Hahn Garden. 

Cayelan Carey
Cayelan Carey is associate professor of freshwater ecosystem science in the Department of Biological Sciences in the College of Science. She also leads the Carey Lab at Virginia Tech.
Quinn Thomas
Quinn Thomas is associate professor of forest dynamics and ecosystem modeling in the Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation at Virginia Tech.
Leah Johnson
Leah Johnson is associate professor of statistics in the College of Science at Virginia Tech. Her research interests are in statistical and mathematical biology, ecology, and epidemiology., and ecological forecasting.

Forty faculty, postdocs, and students from across campus came together to celebrate environmental forecasting research and education at Virginia Tech. 

Eight faculty gave flash talks on their forecasting research (spanning forecasting databases used for disease prediction, new statistical methods for forecasting models, teaching modules for introducing ecological forecasting to undergraduates, and the economics of forecasting risk for disaster insurance).

The Ecological Forecast Project brought together more than 40 faculty, postdocs and students to discuss environmental forecasting research.

The keynote speaker featured Natalie Nelson, principal investigator of the Biosystems Analytics Lab in the Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department at NC State. She presented on the forecasting system her lab developed to predict several day-ahead shellfish contamination events along the southeastern United States coast.

Natalie Nelson stands in front of Torgersen Hall Bridge on the Virginia Tech campus.
Keynote speaker Natalie Nelson takes some time to enjoy the Virginia Tech campus while attending the Ecological Forecast Project's Fall Forecasting Fest and Feast.

The Ecological Forecasting Project is a collaborative of researchers (ecology and data sciences leaders) coming together with the common goal of advancing ecological forecasting research and training across campus, with the following mission:

  • Create reliable environmental forecasts and visualizations that are co-developed with users; guide decision-making to improve human well-being; and advance our understanding of ecosystems;
  • Develop software and tools that are broadly used to forecast ecological processes, such as water quality, forecast production, vector-borne disease, and more; and
  • Train the next generation of ecological forecasters.