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  • From floods and wildfires to land use and invasive species,

  • our ecosystems are constantly changing.

  • The National Ecological Observatory Network, or NEON, is designed to collect data

  • at field sites across the United States to help us better understand these ecosystems,

  • and how and why they change over time.

  • The NEON project will transform scientists' ability to study our nation's ecosystems by

  • providing a wealth of open data and a continental-scale infrastructure for research studies.

  • NEON is unique in two ways.

  • First, NEON uses a combination of data collection methods

  • that are spatially integrated within and across field sites.

  • Second, the data collection methods used are standardized across all sites

  • to enable comparisons across the continent.

  • As a result, the data can be used to:

  • Integrate ecological observations across multiple scales.

  • Detect changes in how our ecosystems function.

  • Enable forecasting of environmental change to inform resource management decisions.

  • NEON field sites are strategically located in both terrestrial and

  • freshwater aquatic ecosystems across the United States.

  • They represent the vegetation, landforms and climates of those regions.

  • At each field site, NEON uses a combination of automated instruments,

  • observational sampling, and airborne remote sensing technologies

  • to collect data that characterize plants, animals,

  • soils, nutrients, freshwater and atmosphere.

  • NEON's automated instruments collect data 24/7

  • at terrestrial and aquatic field sites across the nation.

  • Flux towers, that rise above the plant canopy at terrestrial sites,

  • collect a full profile of atmospheric measurements,

  • along with sensors installed in the ground that monitor soil health.

  • At aquatic sites, a smaller meteorological station collects atmospheric data and

  • other sensors monitor surface water and groundwater quality.

  • In addition to instrument systems, NEON has trained field technicians

  • that conduct standardized sampling throughout the growing season

  • at dozens of plot locations within each field site.

  • They collect organismal and biogeochemical observations that range from plants and animals

  • to soil microbes and aquatic life.

  • Morphology maps of the aquatic field sites are collected

  • as well as hydrology data to monitor physical changes that occur over time.

  • During peak greenness, NEON's airborne observation platform

  • is flown over field sites to collect

  • hyperspectral, lidar, and high resolution camera data.

  • These remote sensing systems capture changes to land characteristics like

  • topography as well as more complex processes

  • like tree growth and forest health across an entire site from year to year.

  • The data collected through these three systems

  • can be studied in conjunction with one another because they're

  • gathered in close proximity to each other at a site.

  • The data are also comparable among field sites

  • so researchers can study connections and patterns across ecosystems,

  • and then develop models to forecast environmental change locally,

  • regionally and at a continental scale.

  • NEON is an open science program which means all NEON data, protocols and resources are

  • are freely available online for anyone to use!

  • Explore neonscience.org to learn more.

From floods and wildfires to land use and invasive species,

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NEON: Open Data to Understand our Changing Ecosystems

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    joey joey posted on 2021/05/24
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