OPS 2-7
Integrating Phenocam and USA National Phenology Network continental-scale approaches into NEON phenology data products

Tuesday, August 6, 2013
Exhibit Hall B, Minneapolis Convention Center
Michael Toomey, Harvard University
Andrew D. Richardson, Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University
Jake F. Weltzin, USA National Phenology Network Nat'l Coordinating Office, US Geological Survey, Tucson, AZ
Steven Berukoff, NEON Inc., Boulder, CO
Sarah Elmendorf, National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON)
Hank Loescher, NEON Inc., Boulder, CO
Mark Friedl, Earth and Environment, Boston University
Matthew Jones, University of Montana
Hongyan Luo, National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON, Inc.), Boulder, CO
David J.P. Moore, School of Natural Resources and the Environment, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ

Impacts of climate change and urbanization on phenology have been documented around the globe, with considerable implications for ecosystem structure and function. Two continental-scale observation networks, Phenocam (http://phenocam.sr.unh.edu) and the USA National Phenology Network (USA-NPN; http://www.usanpn.org) are working with the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) to develop phenological monitoring protocols and explore new opportunities for synergistic phenology research. Phenocam, a network of 130+ Internet-linked cameras distributed across North America, uses high frequency canopy monitoring for the development of predictive models of plant phenology and associated ecosystem services. The USA-NPN leverages the efforts of volunteers and professional scientists across the United States to construct a diverse database on plant and animal phenology to support research, management, education and conservation needs. Both organizations are collaborating with NEON, a continental-scale ecological observing system, to enhance and codify phenology data collection, processing and dissemination over its 30-year life span.

Members of the Phenocam network are working with NEON to establish protocols for camera operation and develop algorithms to estimate phenophase transition dates from imagery time series. Camera-based monitoring supplements organismal (in-situ, ground-based) field observations collected by both NEON and USA-NPN (according to a common set of standardized protocols).  A key element of these protocols is the designation of cross-biome phenophase definitions, allowing seamless integration of NEON phenology data with standardized USA-NPN data sets.  Organismal data collection at NEON sites is being designed to describe both interspecific and intraspecific variation in plant phenology, and to facilitate both population- and community-level research. 


The joint efforts of NEON, Phenocam and USA-NPN will bridge two major knowledge gaps in the field of phenology. First, cameras will provide a tool to harmonize phenophase observations of individual plants to the synoptic-scale observations of remote sensing platforms and enhance techniques for validation of satellite derived land surface phenology products.  Second, development of multi-scale phenology data sets at NEON eddy covariance sites will facilitate investigation of the feedbacks between ecosystem phenology and carbon/water/energy fluxes between the biosphere and atmosphere. Intermediate products include protocols for linking organisms to cameras, and cameras to satellites.  Ultimately, protocols for integrating data across all scales, for a variety of biome types, will contribute to the development of a common, dynamic database of cross-scale phenology datasets, as well as complementary datasets (e.g., climatology, land-cover) for research, education and management applications.