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Media Advisory 18-011

Media invited to NSF for distinguished lecture with Boston University’s Michael Dietze

Ecologist to discuss new research challenges, opportunities in forecasting ecological processes

Ecologist Michael Dietze

Ecologist Michael Dietze

September 20, 2018

This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

Is nature predictable? If so, how can we better manage and conserve ecosystems? Near-term ecological forecasting is an emerging interdisciplinary research area that aims to improve researchers' ability to predict ecological processes on timescales that can be validated and updated.

The National Science Foundation's (NSF) Directorate for Biological Sciences invites media and members of the public to a distinguished lecture series with Michael Dietze of Boston University. An ecologist who leads the university's Ecological Forecasting Laboratory, Dietz will discuss the challenges and opportunities in near-term ecological forecasting, which span advances in environmental monitoring, statistics and cyberinfrastructure. He will present a framework to understand the predictability of ecological processes and highlight ongoing efforts to build an ecological forecasting community of practice.

Dietze will address the current state of and potential for developing forecasts for a wide range of ecological processes, including:

  • Vegetation phenology and land-surface fluxes
  • Ticks, tick-borne disease and small mammal hosts
  • Soil microbiome
  • Aquatic productivity and algal blooms
  • Advancing statistical and informatic tools for ecological forecasting.


WHO: NSF-funded ecologist Michael Dietze, who leads Boston University's Ecological Forecasting Laboratory. The laboratory works to better understand and predict ecological systems. Dietze is interested in ways that iterative forecasts can improve and accelerate basic environmental science while making that science more directly relevant to society. Dietze's plant ecology lab led the development of PEcAn, the Predictive Ecosystems Analyzer, an open-source software platform for analyzing diverse data and ecosystem models, funded by grants from NSF, NASA and others.

WHAT: NSF distinguished lecture: "Solving the challenge of predicting nature: How close are we and how do we get there?"

WHEN: Thursday, Sept. 27, 12:30 p.m. ET

WHERE: National Science Foundation, 2415 Eisenhower Ave., Alexandria, VA 22314

RSVP: Media who plan to attend the lecture must contact Ivy Kupec at or (703) 292-8796. Dietze will be available for media interviews directly after the lecture.


Media Contacts
Ivy F. Kupec, NSF, (703) 292-8796, email:

The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2021 budget of $8.5 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

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