Using network level science to enable scaling of key drivers controlling aquatic-terrestrial ecosystem dynamics and responses
One of the principle challenges faced by ecological sciences is the integration of landscape processes that can detect meaningful change across spatial temporal scales whilst addressing multiple levels of complexity. Aquatic ecosystems are excellent indicators and integrators of changes occurring within and across the atmospheric, terrestrial and aquatic interfaces, and as such, the ability to scale local processes to the regional, continental and global landscape is essential for forecasting ecosystem change.
The National Ecological Observatory Network is poised to start operations in 2017 and to provide a platform for collecting and freely distributing long term ecological data to enable the forecasting of the impacts of climate and land use change and invasive species on ecosystems across the United States. Networks provide an opportunity to collect scientific data using sampling strategies designed for comparability and extrapolation across diverse ecosystems and regions coupled with the ability to identify key drivers and processes affecting aquatic-terrestrial ecosystem dynamics. Collaborative efforts across networks should include scaleable measurements and the collection of standardized long-term data, necessary key inputs for improving predictive models. Ensuring the collection and dissemination of high-quality data across highly variable ecosystems using standardized methods and combining in-situ instrumentation and observational data with airborne observations enables the provision of a range of scaled data products poised to facilitate an improved understanding of aquatic-terrestrial ecosystem dynamics at local to continental scales.