May 2019
Hello again. Over the last few months I have been back at NEON working/consulting with Battelle and the staff here in Boulder, Colorado as the observatory moves into full operations. So I am once again back on the “Inside Looking Out” (for you more senior ecologists a song made famous by the Animals ). The program is certainly evolving and as expected this transition into full operations has created challenges and opportunities both external and internal to NEON.  

Tucked away in Hawai‘i's Pu‘u Maka‘ala Natural Area Reserve (NAR), NEON's final field site will become fully operational in late May. The site is already collecting instrument and field sampling data. It joins monitoring and conservation efforts already underway in this unique pacific tropical ecosystem. NEON data will support these efforts and give researchers new insight into how the climate and ecosystem are changing in the mountains of Hawai‘i. 

In late April, the first formal loan request from the NEON Biorepository was successfully fulfilled. The Biorepository is funded by the National Science Foundation and managed by Arizona State University (ASU). Researcher, Dr. Michael Weiser came to ASU to pick up invertebrate bycatch from the NEON collections. The loan is for an NSF Macrosystems funded project to develop nondestructive and semi-automatic methods to quantify the abundance, biomass and diversity of all ground-active arthropods collected in the NEON pitfall traps (aka "invertebrate bycatch").

Want to plan a ground sampling project in coordination with a NEON airborne remote sensing survey? The 2019 flight campaign season has begun. The season will run from March to October, covering 35 terrestrial sites and 21 aquatic sites. Airborne remote sensing data are fully downloadable from the NEON data portal now and accessible via the Data API . Code resources are also available to help you work with the data.

This fully funded one-week workshop will provide the opportunity to learn how to use ‘big data' from the Terrestrial Environmental Observatories (TERENO), National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) and Integrated Carbon Observation System (ICOS) large networks of observatories while discussing the frontier of carbon science and identifying new research opportunities.

There will be several NEON-related presentations at the SFS meeti this year, including “Opportunities for aquatic microbial meta-analyses using the NEON network” and​ “Integrating continuous sensor data with observational sampling at a continental scale to enable estimates of carbon flux, reaeration and metabolism in streams.”

Registration is now open for a free ESA-hosted webinar led by NEON scientists Claire Lunch and Megan Jones. The webinar will take place on June 05, 2019 - 12:00 to 1:00, 2pm EDT/12pm MDT. Pre-registration is required.

The early bird deadline for the 2019 ESA/USSEE Joint Meeting is June 27. In addition to posters and talks, Battelle scientists from the NEON program are also presenting two workshops. We hope to see you there! Featured workshops include:

  • Access and Work with NEON Data Workshop (advance registration required)
  • Beyond Data: Navigating NEON Resources Brown Bag Workshop

Battelle scientists, Alycia Crall and Megan Jones led a conference the first week of April that examined diversity, equity, and inclusion in the environmental data sciences. The event was funded by the NSF INCLUDES program , which aims to broaden participation by underrepresented groups across STEM fields. The conference was also sponsored by 12 partnering organizations and brought together 104 researchers, practitioners, educators, and evaluators to begin discussions on how to best work together to ensure the field is inclusive and reflects the communities it serves. A new organization, the Environmental Data Science Inclusion Network (EDSIN) , was formed to continue the work that began during the conference and to support a community of practice that can share resources and best practices.

This April 2019 workshop brought together members of the atmospheric science and ecological communities to discuss how to advance the capability of Earth system prediction to include terrestrial ecosystems and biological resources. The event was led by Michael SanClements, Battelle scientist for the NEON program and Gordon Bonan, NCAR Terrestrial Sciences Section Head & Senior Scientist. Discussions culminated in several ideas to move forward including the incorporation of NEON data into the  NCAR Community Land Model (CLM)  and subsequent modeling of NEON core sites . Workshop participants further identified the potential for one or more NEON sites to become 'Super Sites' that would serve as collaborative research hotspots where NEON, NCAR, and community resources could be leveraged to improve the CLM and its predictive capacity. 

An estimated 600 megatons of carbon is currently held by reactive minerals deep within terrestrial soils around the world. Understanding the pathways and variables that influence carbon sequestration in soil could lead to new ideas to combat climate change and protect vulnerable ecosystems. In a study using NEON Megapit soil samples , researchers Marc G. Kramer and Oliver A. Chadwick examine the role of minerals in facilitating carbon sequestration in soil.

How do you measure the biodiversity of an ecosystem? A paper published in Nature Ecology & Evolution examines the use of species traits as Essential Biodiversity Variables (EBVs)—and how data products from NEON and other large-scale observatory networks can be used to monitor changes in biodiversity over time. This paper was a collaborative effort by over two dozen scientists including Battelle scientist, Katie Jones. 

Joseph Stachelek , a researcher in the Fisheries and Wildlife Department at Michigan State University recently tweeted about a NEON Lake Data blog he wrote. Joseph introduces the blog by saying, “NEON provides so much data it can be difficult to get a grasp of their lake data apart from data collected in other ecosystems.” He then demonstrates how to use NEON’s code resources and Data API to extract lake-specific information. The blog includes the scope of data available from lake sites and how to access the data programmatically. Thanks Joseph!

Have you created a community resource to work with NEON data? Please contact us with the details and we’ll be sure to collect and share your work.
The scientific community is generating results with NEON data. It’s exciting to see NEON data getting published in research papers this year. Several papers have also been published by NEON program staff. Have you used NEON? Please contact us about your research.

Ritter, François, Berkelhammer, M. & Beysens, D.  Dew frequency across the US from a network of in situ radiometers Hydrology and Earth System Sciences   23,  1179 - 1197 (2019)