Synthetic datasets and community tools for the rapid testing of ecological hypotheses

The increased availability of both open ecological data, and software to interact with it, allows the fast collection and integration of information at all spatial and taxonomic scales. This offers the opportunity to address macroecological questions in a cost-effective way. In this contribution, we illustrate this approach by forecasting the structure of a stream food web at the global scale. In so doing, we highlight the most salient issues needing to be addressed before this approach can be used with a high degree of confidence.