OOS 3-1
State of NEON:  Where are we and what challenges and opportunities lie ahead?

Monday, August 5, 2013: 1:30 PM
101C, Minneapolis Convention Center
Scott Ollinger, Earth Systems Research Center, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH
David Tazik, National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON, Inc.), Boulder, CO
Steve Berukoff, National Ecological Observatory Network, Boulder, CO
Wendy K. Gram, Education and Public Engagement, NEON, Inc., Boulder, CO
Thomas Kampe, National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON, Inc.), Boulder, CO
Krista Laursen, National Ecological Observatory Network, Boulder
Henry W. Loescher, National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON), Boulder, CO
Lou Pitelka, NEON Inc., Boulder, CO
Heather Powell, National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON, Inc.), Boulder, CO
Jeffrey Taylor, National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON, Inc.), Boulder, CO
Andrea S. Thorpe, National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON, Inc.), Boulder, CO

NEON is an NSF-funded distributed observatory that represents the agency’s first major facilities investment in biology.  The vision of NEON arose from the ecological community as a means of answering some of the most exciting and challenging questions in continental-scale ecology.  Designed with a 30-year time horizon and an open-access data policy, NEON’s mission is to enable understanding and forecasting of the impacts of climate change, land-use change and invasive species at regional to continental-scales. To fulfill that mission, NEON will provide data and information to scientists, educators, decision makers and the general public on biological processes and their responses to multiple stressors, and to make infrastructure assets available to support research, education and environmental management. NEON is now in its second full year of construction, and initial deployment of instrumentation is proceeding at numerous sites across the US.  By the end of 2013, initial operation of the observatory will yield provisional instrument-based data from seven sites, with 13 sites to be added during 2014. Sampling of NEON’s sentinel taxa began at eight aquatic and terrestrial sites during 2013, with another eight each to begin in 2014.  Airborne Observation Platform flights will have taken place over multiple sites including one campaign coincident with the NASA AVIRIS platform in southern California and another to document impacts of the100 square mile High Park fire that occurred in Colorado during 2012.


With planned completion in 2017, the time is quickly approaching when the full power of NEON will be available to ecologists world-wide.  As that time approaches, continued engagement with its community of users will be essential for the full potential of the observatory to be realized.   Here, we provide an update on the present status of NEON and discuss approaches through which the resources provided by NEON can be optimally integrated with the intellectual resources of NEON’s diverse science community.  Our intent is to encourage critical thinking on how to make the best use of NEON data, create opportunities for the community to publish scholarly papers, promote use of NEON data in education, and keep NEON at the forefront of thinking across the scientific community.