Plugging Into NEON – A Foundation for Ecological Research At the Continental Scale and Beyond
Monday, August 5, 2013: 1:30 PM-5:00 PM
101C, Minneapolis Convention Center
David Tazik, National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON, Inc.)
Andrea S. Thorpe, National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON, Inc.)
Steve Berukoff, National Ecological Observatory Network
This session highlights current research and future opportunities for research and scientific observations across the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON). NEON is a NSF-funded observatory with a mission to enable understanding and forecasting of the impacts of climate change, land-use change and invasive species on continental-scale ecology. It 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. The goal of this session is to foster discussion of how the community can utilize NEON data and infrastructure to begin and expand future research projects.
With over 60 terrestrial sites and 36 aquatic sites in 20 domains, NEON provides data, infrastructure and standardized methodologies to support ecological research and environmental education across the continent, Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. Beyond its 60 flux towers and 36 instrumented aquatic sites, NEON infrastructure will include three Aerial Observation Platforms (AOP) and ten mobile deployment platforms that can be made available for use to support PI-driven research and to study the aftermath of major ecological events, such as hurricanes and large fires – i.e., targets of opportunity.
Presentations will discuss previous, on-going and planned work using NEON data and infrastructure. Examples include the use of NEON data by macrosystems biology researchers and other research and education networks, application of the AOP when targets of opportunity arise, coordination of field data collection standards and protocols across continents and opportunities for collaboration with the academic community.
An excellent example of the use of NEON infrastructure is the recent deployment of the AOP in monitoring the aftermath of Colorado’s High Park Fire. Funded under an NSF RAPID grant in collaboration with Colorado State University, AOP data will be used to follow regeneration of vegetation in burned areas, effects of erosion on the region and potential impacts to water supply and water quality. The new science developed from this collaborative effort will be instrumental in fostering an understanding of the longterm effect of fire on the Colorado landscape. This and other examples, will illustrate the manner in which the ecological community can tap into and take advantage of NEON’s many assets.