Weecology uses a variety of tools and shared resources to facilitate research. Short descriptions of the resources we have and the tools we use are listed below:
Wiki: The wiki serves multiple functions for weecology. It serves as a research repository where current figures, analyses, and ideas for weecology research projects can be posted, shared and discussed. Page-level control allows us to make pages for specific research projects available to scientists outside weecology - allowing integration of non-weecology scientists into collaborations. The wiki also serves as a repository of weecology knowledge - everything from how to navigate the graduate school administrative paperwork, to grant resources for graduate, post-doc, and faculty level scientists, to schedules for weecology lab meetings.
Google Apps: Google Apps is an on-line tool, integrating Google Docs, Chat, Calendar and additional Google resources. We have found that online word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation software allows greater interaction among collaborators during the early phases of a project. Integrated chat functions allow collaborators at different locations to discuss projects - either via text or video chat - while working on the same document. Finally, the google calendar feature allows members of weecology to have access to each others' schedules (a feature students may find handy if their advisors remember to keep their calendar up-to-date!). We have set up Google Apps for the Weecology domain, providing a secure site for our group to work.
Portal LTREB: Weecology is affiliated with the Portal Project, a long-term field site in Arizona. Data collection trips to the field site are conducted monthly and long-term data are publicly available. This provides members of weecology with the opportunity to use the project in a variety of ways: as a source of data, as a way to gain field experience, or as a location to conduct novel data collection.
Database Server: We maintain an Ubuntu Linux server running MySQL to serve the broad array of databases we use for research. This allows us to maintain up-to-date versions of most macroecological databases with relatively minimal effort on the part of lab members, and displaces the computational expense from individual workstations to the centralized server. This server also hosts and provides backup and security for the Portal LTREB databases.
Server Farm: We have a small cluster of System76 Jackal Pro Linux servers (2 x Quad Core Intel Xeon 3 GHz processors, 16 GB of RAM, 500 GB RAID 5 hardrive configuration) managed using Landscape. This provides our members with plenty of computational resources for intensive analysis of large data sets and for numerical and simulation based modeling.
Version Control: We have a Subversion repository hosted by Beanstalk to facilitate collaborative code development and versioning/forking of code written by both groups and individuals (try Beanstalk and save 10%) .
Website: Weecology's websites run on a single Drupal codebase and database coordinated using the Domain Access module developed and maintained by Ken Rickard. This setup provides a powerful, flexilble, CMS for our four sites with relatively easy setup and maintenance. The themes were designed using Artisteer. Our sites are hosted on A Small Orange - they don't oversell and their support is second to none.