Workshop 1: Machine learning for advanced data analysis in isotope ecology – discussion, sharing experience and applications

Hosts: Astrid Harjung and David Soto, International Atomic Energy Agency

In this workshop we will discuss what machine learning (ML) tools are available to approach data in isotope ecology. The first part will be a presentation showing examples of ML application in isotope ecology, then an overview of user friendly software and R-scripts for you to start playing around with your own data and finally present the conclusions of the Working group on AI/ML for water and environment in the IAEA technical meeting AI4Atoms. The last part should spark a discussion on the application of ML in the field of isotope ecology. Among others, we want to discuss these questions: i) What are the challenges, what are the opportunities? ii) Are all ML algorithms just a black box? iii) How well does the isotope ecologist need to understand the ML algorithms? iv) Interpretability vs predictivity: How to balance between these two?

Requirements: None.

Maximum: 30 participants

Workshop 2: Sample preparation and quality control for IRMS analysis

Host: Kathrin Rosenthal, Elementar (IsoEcol Sponsor)

In this workshop we will share the latest information on sample preparation and quality control for IRMS analysis. We plan to provide and demonstrate some practical advice for the preparation of solid and liquid EA-IRMS samples and discus some insights on GC and gas sample preparations. For quality control of the IRMS analysis we will present our data acquisition and referencing concept in combination with software supported of multi point calibration and statistical evaluation. Further, we will share our views on preparing and storing of in-house standards. This workshop is aimed at anyone starting out with IRMS analysis to provide fundamental basics, but is also for experienced analysts. Come and share your experiences with us.

Requirements: None.

Minimum: 5, no maximum

Workshop 3: Metabolic rate and stable isotope Ecology

Host: Clive Trueman, University of Southampton

An animal’s metabolic rate describes the rate at which energy is consumed. Metabolic rate is a fundamental ecological trait and variations in metabolic rates are central to explanations of life history traits, species distributions. Predictable variations in metabolic rates as a function of body size and temperature underpin the Metabolic Theory of Ecology, which in turn is heavily implicated in projections of species and population responses to climate change.

As metabolic rate describes the rate of biochemical reactions, particularly those associated with nutrient processing, stable isotope data are both influenced by variations in organism metabolic rate and provide signal that can be used to infer relative and absolute metabolic rates. Stable isotope approaches have been particularly instrumental to the quantification of field metabolic rates though the double-labelled water method, and emerging tools such as biomineral carbonate isotope systematics and 17O approaches offer considerable new potential as isotopic approaches to ecophysiology.

This workshop is intended to be an open round-table discussion exploring interactions between metabolic theory and stable isotope ecology. Topics for discussion might include (but are not limited) to:

  • Isotopic approaches to quantifying metabolic rates and metabolic scaling among different organisms.

  • Use of metabolic theory to predict variables of interest to isotopic ecologists such as isotopic turnover rate and trophic fractionation.

Requirements: None.

Minimum: 5, no maximum

Workshop 4: Applications of bulk and compound-specific stable isotopes in Ecology

Hosts: Fernando Chaguaceda, Matthias Pilecky and Martin Kainz

Stable isotope analysis (SIA) of bulk tissues has been widely used to solve a broad array of ecological questions. With newer techniques, such as compound-specific stable isotope analysis (CSIA), a window of opportunities arises that could help us solve research questions and also address new questions that could not be answered by traditional SIA. In this workshop, we present the pros, cons and limits of bulk and compound-specific SIA for ecological research and discuss the suitability of these techniques for research questions brought by the organizers and participants. The aim is to create a roadmap in a perspective paper addressing “which way to go?”, which scrutinizes current state and future perspectives for applying bulk and CSIA for Stable Isotope Ecology.

The workshop will provide:

  • Background and rationale of SIA and CSIA techniques in Ecology

  • Key examples scientific questions and problems that can be solved with SIA and CSIA.

  • Comparison of the suitability of SIA and CSIA for general research questions in ecology

  • Discussion of specific research questions/problems/case studies (by the audience) and assessing the suitability of SIA and CSIA techniques.

  • Creation of a “go-to” table that summarizes the outcome of this workshop, grouping scientific questions into general research topics and suggesting the most suitable technique (bulk SIA or CSIA) for specific research problems.

This workshop is for those who:

  • Have a research question or problem and are unsure which SIA approach to use.

  • Know SIA, but would like to learn the fundamentals and applications of CSIA in ecology.

  • Would like to learn/discuss which of the two techniques (SIA or CSIA) is more suitable to answer questions of stable isotope ecology.

  • Would like to know the array of ecological questions that may be solved with either SIA or CSIA techniques

  • Would like to better understand a new field of ecological questions that CSIA can solve and SIA does not.

Requirements: None.

Minimum: 5, maximum 25

Workshop 5: Hands-on demonstration of the new Express and Survey modes of the Picarro water isotope analysis system: Increase throughput and maintain excellent data quality

Host: Magdalena Hofmann, Picarro Ltd (IsoEcol Sponsor)

For over a decade Picarro water isotope analyzers provide high quality stable isotope data that are critical for scientists studying ecology, hydrology and atmospheric processes. The Picarro water isotope analysis system allows to measure quickly, simply, and without sample conversion. In this workshop we demonstrate two new analysis modes, Express and Survey, that allow for rapid throughput while maintaining excellent measurement precision. We will present these new solutions followed by an open discussion on best practices for stable isotope analysis of water. This workshop is open to all interested scientists, both newcomers to CRDS technology and experienced Picarro users.

Requirements: None.

Minimum: maximum 25