Portal Project

Long-term ecological research site studying the dynamics of desert rodents, plants, ants and weather in Arizona.


We monitor rodents, plants, ants, and weather. All data from the Portal Project are made openly available in near real-time so that they can provide the maximum benefit to scientific research and outreach. The core dataset is managed using an automated living data workflow run using GitHub and Continuous Analysis.

GitHub Data Repository
Live Updating Zenodo Archive
Data Paper
Methods Documentation

The Portal Project data can also be accessed through the Data Retriever, a package manager for data.

Data Retriever

A teaching focused version of the dataset is also maintained with some of the complexities of the data removed to make it easy to use for computational training purposes. This dataset serves as the core dataset for the Data Carpentry Ecology material and has been downloaded almost 50,000 times.

R package

To make it as easy as possible to work with the Portal data we have an R package that automates many of the common data cleaning, manipulation, and imputation tasks required to work with the data.


Recent Publications

More Publications

. Developing a modern data workflow for living data. bioRxiv, 2018.


. Developing an automated iterative near-term forecasting system for an ecological study. bioRxiv, 2018.


. Long-term community change through multiple rapid transitions in a desert rodent community. Ecology, 2018.


. The Portal Project: a long-term study of a Chihuahuan desert ecosystem. bioRxiv, 2018.


. Community-level regulation of temporal trends in biodiversity. Science advances, 2017.


. Do persistent rare species experience stronger negative frequency dependence than common species?. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 2017.


. Repeated regime shifts in a desert rodent community. bioRxiv, 2017.

. Long-term monitoring and experimental manipulation of a Chihuahuan desert ecosystem near Portal, Arizona (1977--2013). Ecology, 2016.

Research Areas

Ecological Forecasting

Automated-iterative forecasting for the Portal Project

Temporal Dynamics

How ecosystems change through time