A new graph-based approach to explore species datasets by their ecological and biogeographical affinities

WINNER: Finalists

ecoSpace is a new way of looking at species occurrence datasets, by providing a web-based dynamic network explorer that puts in evidence ecological or geographical affinities between species across biological groups, calculated from user-chosen bioclimatic variables. Innovations include an interface to navigate along a species network by choosing your way along a connected network of related species (those largely sharing their distributions in climatic space), which expand in each step to gradually reveal the complexity of the network. In parallel, ecoSpace features a set of interactive bioclimatic scatterplots where species climatic distributions are displayed as density surfaces calculated on the fly, with the ability to overlay several species. The idea was born as an attempt to put some order on the intractable network of species that co-occur in a region, by summarizing the complexity of species datasets in an interactive and ecologically meaningful representation. The more knowledgeable user will feel that much of his ecological field perception about assembly of species communities are appearing in the graph as he moves along the nodes. Internally, this is done by computing a pair-wise distance matrix between all species based on the intersection of the kernel densities of species distributions in the bioclimatic space (data downloaded from . A network is built interactively by connecting each species to the N species which have the shortest distances. Datasets can be imported directly from GBIF using the simple query interface provided, or directly from Darwin Core files. The web app, powered by d3.js, builds upon a Java server API having expandibility in mind, backed by C JNI native code for heavy computations. ecoSpace is currently available for use at

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