Monday, August 6, 2012: 1:30 PM-5:00 PM
B116, Oregon Convention Center
David S. Schimel, Jet Propulsion Lab, California Institute of Technology
Henry W. Loescher, University of Colorado
Brian Wee, National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON, Inc.)
Living systems interact with each other and with the rest of the Earth System at many scales. At a small scale, individual plants exchange energy and matter with the atmosphere to support growth. At a large scale, like that of an entire continent, exchange between biotic components, the atmosphere, and surface water affects climate and hydrology. Individual organisms interact directly with each other locally, but the movement of invasive or pathogenic species can change the biota of entire continents. Understanding the role of organisms and their biology in the Earth System requires coordinated analysis of pattern from small-scale mechanisms within cells to large-scale global studies of fluxes. Understanding the patterns of movement and distribution of organisms is also important as is the development and coordination of methods for quantifying the various scales of biological activity. The NSF program “Macrosystems Biology” seeks to understand biological systems over extensive geographical and spatial extents using quantitative, interdisciplinary, systems-oriented research. To address this challenge, ecological theory and methodology needs to be adapted, and socio-ecological theory needs to be developed for these larger scales.
The National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) is a new major facility designed to provide data and information to scientists, educators, decision makers and the general public on biological processes and their responses to multiple stresses. NEON will provide information to enable analysis and forecasting in the areas of bioclimate, biodiversity, biogeochemistry, ecohydrology, infectious disease, and land use and land cover. Changing climate, land use change, and invasive species will cause significant impacts to ecosystem structure and function. In order to prepare for these changes, society needs ecological analysis and forecasts. Ecological forecasting depends upon data and information to develop and test forecast models. NEON is a system designed to provide that data and information on the scales of climate and land use change over biological macrosystems by providing free and open availability to data and information, and community access to shared models and algorithms.