PS 15-12 - The USA National Phenology Network’s model for managing diverse data through space and time to inform phenology research and applications

Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Exhibit Hall 3, Austin Convention Center
Alyssa Rosemartin1, R. Lee Marsh2, Ellen G. Denny1 and Bruce E. Wilson3, (1)National Coordinating Office, USA National Phenology Network, Tucson, AZ, (2)USA National Phenology Network, Tucson, AZ, (3)Environmental Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN

Patterns of phenology for plants and animals control ecosystem processes and affect food production, health, conservation, and recreation.  Although phenological data and models have broad applications, 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; is a newly established partnership between federal agencies, the academic community, and the general public to establish a national initiative focused on phenology, as well engage the public in science, all with a strong information technology foundation to reach and support broad audiences.


Data management and information sharing are central to the USA-NPN mission. The USA-NPN develops, implements, and maintains a comprehensive Information Management System (IMS), critical to the widespread collection, storage and dissemination of phenology data. Also facilitated by a well-developed information technology infrastructure, are access to phenology-related information, tools for data interpretation, and communication among partners of the USA-NPN. The IMS includes components for data storage, such as the National Phenology Database, Nature’s Notebook, a robust user interface for data entry, an exciting new suite of internet-enabled visualization tools, large and inclusive catalogues of phenology-related data and information, and live data exports available for download and analysis. Since its inception in 2009, more than 100,000 phenology observations at 2,000 stations have been collected through Nature’s Notebook. The USA-NPN website sees 4,000 unique visitors each month, including 200 visits to available data and 60 visits to the publication clearinghouse. Ongoing development of web services supports data entry interfaces on partner websites, smartphone applications and dynamic visualizations.

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Banner photo by Flickr user greg westfall.