Tuesday, August 3, 2010 - 9:30 AM

SYMP 5-5: Integration of citizen- and scientist-based data for scientific, conservation and management applications:  Role of the USA National Phenology Network

Jake F. Weltzin, USA National Phenology Network


Patterns of phenology for plants and animals control ecosystem processes, determine land surface properties, control biosphere-atmosphere interactions, and affect food production, health, conservation, and recreation.  Phenological data and models have applications related to scientific research, education and outreach, agriculture, tourism and recreation, human health, and natural resource conservation and management, but until recently there was no coordinated effort to understand phenology at the national scale in the United States.  The USA National Phenology Network (USA-NPN; www.usanpn.org) is a new partnership between governmental and non-governmental science and resource management agencies and organizations, the academic community, and the general public.  The goal of the network is to establish a national science and monitoring initiative focused on phenology as a tool to understand how plants, animals and landscapes respond to environmental variation, and to facilitate human adaptation to ongoing and potential future climate change.  Integration of contemporary and historical phenology data can create datasets with spatial and temporal depth and breadth useful for scientific, conservation and management applications.


Core functions and services of USA-NPN include development of an information management system including standards and databases, establishment of key partnerships, facilitation of development of research and decision support tools, and implementation of communication, education and outreach programs.  An on-line, integrated plant and animal phenology monitoring program provides standardized methods and monitoring protocols for hundreds of local, regional, and nationally distributed plant and animal species.  Monitoring methods are designed to determine sampling intensity and absence data.  Future directions include increased integration with national and international formal and informal science networks; enhanced consistency and availability of remote sensing of phenology terminology, methods, products and services; tools for discovery, description, ingestion, curation, integration and distribution of historic phenology datasets; and, improvement of tools for data entry, download and visualization.