[Mastwatch] Casual observations at Gunung Palung

Marco Visser m.visser at science.ru.nl
Tue Aug 16 07:51:39 PDT 2011

Dear Serge and others,

What I can offer is a central location where users can report new masts,
review previous masts and download recorded mast event data. As there seems
to be interest in this I have therefore added some (crude) forms and code
which showcase the functionality of the dataserver. Almost any type of data can
be added it this way.


Eventually the server could therefore allow data entry directly on the webpage but
to develop this further I will need the help of the list.

There should be a consensus om what information is useful and needs to be recorded.
Also what is feasible? Issues as data access and rights should also be discussed
(basically should the data have complete open access?).
Any ideas are welcome.

I would also need some descriptive text on the mast-watch initiative
(I have taken some text from the mailing list now) and maybe a relevant picture or two.

When it is up and running also feel free to send me info on new publications relevant
to tree demography and/or phenology and I will post it on the site.


Marco Visser

On 08/15/2011 01:50 PM, Serge Wich wrote:
> Dear Marco,
> Thank you for letting us know about this project. It looks very interesting.
> I would certainly think it would be great if data could be on this site and
> instant maps could be made. Let's try to hear from more of the mastwatch
> readers and then see if we can make up a usable excel sheet for people to
> enter data on or something else that would be useful to enter data in and
> that is very easy and quick.
> Best wishes,
> Serge
> -----Original Message-----
> From: mastwatch-bounces at lists.phylodiversity.net
> [mailto:mastwatch-bounces at lists.phylodiversity.net] On Behalf Of Marco
> Visser
> Sent: Friday, August 12, 2011 9:27 PM
> To: mastwatch at lists.phylodiversity.net
> Subject: Re: [Mastwatch] Casual observations at Gunung Palung
> Dear Cam, Serge and others,
> I am currently developing a tree demography data server in
> collaboration with the Smithsonian and Radboud University
> (Netherlands) to host phenology data.
> The server will offer the ability to upload data to a mysql database,
> and interactive data analyses to users (it could therefore
> in theory display maps on demand - if these maps can be translated to
> R-code).
> I am willing to offer some server space for a Mastwatch dataset along
> the lines you describe (including a page to display information
> on current general flowering events/ maps).  There are quite a number of
> questions that could be answered if this data is uploaded frequently
> for a considerable amount of time.
> The beta testpage is up and running (http://tredd.science.ru.nl:8080).
> Please note that this page is under development and is far from its final
> form so please don't distribute the address beyond this list for now.
> Let me know if there is any interest,
> Marco Visser
> On 08/12/2011 09:05 PM, Serge Wich wrote:
>> Dear Cam et al,
>> Thank you for the update on the history of mastwatch. Yoour points about
> the
>> bias in the dataset are of course very true and we should certainly use
>> caution when using these observations. But as you say it would be
>> interesting to have them in a database. If we do that we can perhaps link
> it
>> to published literature and perhaps combine them in a useful way. Not sure
>> yet how, but it might be feasible. I could put things in a GIS layer if
> all
>> people that have contributed data would simply let me know the coordinates
>> of the area where they made the observations, the month and year and
> whether
>> it was flowering or fruiting. This would be less detailed than the
> database
>> form, but at least contain some info that might be useful. If people would
>> think they would be able to do this I can send out an excel file for this
>> and then later on send some maps with the data on it per year or
> something.
>> Then we can see if there is something in it for a short publication.
>> At the same time we could add a column to the excel worksheet where people
>> can add whether they are interested to receive the same datasheet every
> 3-4
>> months and then I can send it around every 3-4 months to those people.
> This
>> would be a relatively small effort since the only thing one would have to
> do
>> is copy down the line of the site and change the month and one per year
> the
>> year and tick a box of whether there is masting flower or fruiting or not.
>> We can add a comments column as well for people to add whatever extra info
>> they have on genera and species that are masting. If data come in every
> 3-4
>> months I can make a new map and send it out to everyone so people get a
> nice
>> update on where mast is and where there is no mast. If people like this
> idea
>> please let me know. Once we have a few years of data we can see if we can
>> make a more solid publication out of this in addition to perhaps a short
>> report to warm people up for the project.
>> Let me know what you think.
>> Best wishes,
>> Serge
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Cam Webb [mailto:cwebb at oeb.harvard.edu]
>> Sent: Friday, August 12, 2011 9:30 AM
>> To: Serge Wich; mastwatch at lists.phylodiversity.net
>> Subject: Re: [Mastwatch] Casual observations at Gunung Palung
>> Dear Serge, All,
>>> I also have a question. With all the mast info from casual observations
>>> and phenology datasets I was wondering whether there is a sense in
>>> putting all of this in a database that is or is not spatially explicit
>>> and perhaps do some analyses on it. It would still be nice to understand
>>> more about masting and where it occurs and how synchronous it is over
>>> larger areas or what time-shifts are between areas. I have no idea how
>>> much data there are, but it might be something to try to do together?
>> To develop a common source of spatially explicit masting information was
>> the reason we started mastwatch in ca. 2002.  Mastwatch was originally a
>> community editable database of observations (see below for original site:
> http://web.archive.org/web/20020903150112/http://www.phylodiversity.net/mast
>> watch/
> http://web.archive.org/web/20020718025948/http://www.phylodiversity.net/mast
>> watch/mastobs.html
>> ).  A few observations were contributed, including a large dump of data
>> from Shinya Numata's 2003 AJB paper, but mastwatch as a database wasn't a
>> great solution for social reasons (not much fun to participate in!).  In
>> 2007, I switched it to this mailing list, and we have now accumulated a
>> good set of observations over the past four and a half years (see
> http://lists.phylodiversity.net/pipermail/mastwatch-phylodiversity.net/
>> for the (public) list archives.  An email is easier to contribute than
>> formatted data, and more fun to read, but it is less likely that a free
>> text email will contain complete information for an analysis.  The other
>> obvious problem with using these data for analysis is that the data points
>> are very spatially skewed to sites where people have heard of this
>> project, and have some incentive to contribute observations.  A much
>> better strategy for the future would be to identify 15-20 sites where
>> there are people we know who are on email and are in the forest on a
>> regular basis, and who would respond to a request for masting observations
>> every 3-4 months. Anyone interested/have time to pursue this?
>> All this said, it would be great if someone wanted to go back through the
>> archives and wrangle the observations into a tabular format. Even if the
>> patterns emerging were not that satisfying, someone could still write up a
>> short paper with the data we do have simply to publicize the project and
>> recruit more observers.
>> Any other ideas on good ways to move forward with this project, other
>> than in its current form, which I hope will continue for years more.  And
>> thanks to everyone for sharing their masting news.  I for one really enjoy
>> reading these live `forest news bulletins.'
>> Best wishes from West Kalimantan,
>> Cam
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