November 2020
A Message from Chief Scientist & Observatory Director Dr. Paula Mabee
Our field season is coming to a close in many Domains across the Observatory, even as the global pandemic stretches on. In many cases, the collection of data continues through our instrumented systems, even when ecologists can't get to the field. Safety of our employees continues to be paramount. You can find the latest Observatory Status information and details on our website.

This virtual world presents many challenges; however, it does make it much easier to meet with decision makers! In October, Michael Kuhlman (Battelle Chief Scientist), Jeff Rose (Battelle Vice President of Government Affairs), and I met over Zoom with staff members of the U.S. Senate Science, Commerce, and Transportation Committee; the U.S. House Science, Space, and Technology Committee; and the U.S. House Appropriations Committee subcommittee for Commerce, Justice, and Science - the subcommittee overseeing funding for NSF, NOAA, and many other federal science entities. We spoke at length about how Battelle is fostering cutting edge science, promoting STEM education, and giving scientists easy and free access to much-needed ecology data. I was encouraged by the thoughtful questions and engagement with staff in both chambers of Congress, and I am excited for the future of science moving forward.

In other virtual news, the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting – the largest scientific conference held annually in the United States – is convening for 17 days in December. NEON will be present with staff-led talks and sessions and as part of the larger Battelle presence and booth at the conference. Lastly, NEON has some exciting things in the works, from partnering with AGU's Thriving Earth Exchange program to our data being used in the EFI: NEON Forecasting Challenge. I urge you to learn more below in this newsletter.

Once again, I hope that this finds you healthy and as well as possible! 

NEON at AGU 2020, DEC 1-17
There will be several NEON-led events at the virtual American Geophysical Union's Fall Meeting, and many more talks that showcase the use of NEON data and other Battelle entities.

NEON staff are also assisting with the virtual Data Help Desk, a collaboration of ecological data repositories and data specialists to engage meeting attendees with questions, comments, and concerns using data repositories in research. We will be monitoring Twitter for your data-related questions December 7-11 and December 14-16; tweet your data questions at #DataHelpDesk and #AGU20. NEON will also be providing recorded demos of some of the tools and resources you can use to manage your data and enhance your research.

Battelle is a Premium Sponsor at AGU 2020; as such, we will have a presentation at 10:30 PST, December 10, followed by a live Q&A with Battelle Chief Scientist Michael Kuhlman. The virtual Battelle exhibit booth will showcase both NEON use case studies and other case studies across the many disciplines of Battelle. We've made it easy to find everything NEON-related happening at the conference:
Explore daily NEON events at AGU, videos, quick links, and find other resources on our website
Search the official AGU 2020 meeting program for everything NEON
Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi are found in nearly every ecosystem, quietly helping plants absorb nutrients from the soil. Dr. Bala Chaudhary wants to build a better model of how these vital ecosystem players disperse across the continent. She is using NEON’s Assignable Assets program to examine the role of aerial dispersal in AM fungal movement.

How much of the water that enters terrestrial systems is used by trees for growth, and how much simply escapes back into the atmosphere through other pathways? Chris Adkison, a researcher at Texas A&M University, used data from the NEON program to compare the accuracy of different methods of partitioning evaporation and transpiration in a Texas oak woodland.

Have you used NEON data, samples or infrastructure? Please contact us about your research and we'd be happy to write a blog article featuring your work as well as add your papers to our publications list.
From the mountains of Maine to the streets of Manhattan, the Northeast (D01) contains something for everyone. With a variety of natural habitats as well as some of the largest and oldest urban areas in the U.S, NEON field sites here provide opportunities to study how ecosystems are responding to pressures from climate change, invasive species, and human activities. 

Announcing a new partnership with the American Geophysical Union’s Thriving Earth Exchange (TEX) program - an international association of more than 60,000 advocates and experts in Earth and space science that fosters community science partnerships to advance local priorities. NEON will select Community Science Fellows from Domain staff to facilitate and lead collaborative, co-developed community science projects that produce on-the-ground impact in local communities. Fellows selected for this cohort will receive training in the TEX community science process, mentorship from AGU Thriving Earth Exchange staff, connectivity to a growing network of Community Science Fellows, and the opportunity to serve as leaders in community science in their Domain and across the Observatory. Learn more about TEX.

NEON will now generate data releases annually, beginning January 2021. NEON data releases will remain stable and accessible throughout the lifetime of the Observatory, and will be assigned Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs). DOI URLs will always resolve back to the dataset, and are thus ideal for citing NEON data in publications and applications. Learn more.

We've freshened up our website! The new website is designed with a modern look and feel, and sections are updated with the most current information. Explore here.

NEON operations and restrictions due to COVID-19 vary across the Observatory and are conducted with required PPE, temperature checks, and other safety precautions in place for staff and surrounding communities. NEON Leadership is continually assessing conditions across the Observatory and has reinstated closures where changes in local conditions (i.e., government guidelines, local infection trends, local hospital capacity, and/or local availability of PPE and supplies) indicate increased risk. Read current operational status updates.

NEON offers a variety of tools and resources for instructors and faculty moving to online teaching. We realize that these are challenging times for our communities around the globe to delivery high quality education in novel online teaching environments. The data and resources from NEON are naturally suited for teaching ecological concepts and skills in both synchronous and asynchronous learning situations. Learn more.

The NEON program generates ecological data on an unprecedented scale. Making sense of that data often requires sophisticated analytical techniques and computer programs. But if you’re not a coder, don’t worry—open source coding resources and community-made custom programs make NEON data more accessible to the ecology community. These resources are now being compiled in the NEON Code Resources Library. Learn more.

Did you know you can put NEON research equipment and field staff to work for you? NEON's mobile deployment platform, aerial observation platform, automated sensor infrastructure and observational sampling infrastructure can be used to gather data for your research. Get started!

This workshop will provide an introduction to the basics of data access and data navigation: discovering and accessing data via the NEON data portal, accessing data via the neonUtilities R package, understanding the content and quality of the data downloaded, and performing common data merges and transformations. Basic familiarity with R is recommended for participation in the workshop. To make the most of our time together, please see the software and R package installation instructions below under the heading 'Before the Workshop.' Learn more and sign up.

The Ecological Forecasting Initiative’s (EFI) NEON Forecasting Challenge is a newly-launched open competition that aims to generate predictions for specific terrestrial and aquatic data streams from NEON, and then iteratively evaluate those predictions against new observations as they come in. The Challenge revolves around the five theme areas listed below that span aquatic and terrestrial systems, and population, community, and ecosystem processes across a broad range of ecoregions that uses data collected by NEON. Attending AGU? Visit the Town Hall on this exciting new opportunity. Learn more.
Knowing how NEON’s data, samples, and infrastructure are used in research is important to measure the program’s success. Please report your publications and related projects here and learn how to cite NEON here.

Liu, S., Butman, D., Raymond, P. 2020. Evaluating CO2 calculation error from organic alkalinity and pH measurement error in low ionic strength freshwaters. Limnology and Oceanography: Methods 18(10). DOI: 10.1002/lom3.10388

Gough, C., Atkins, J., Fahey, R., et al. 2020. Community and structural constraints on the complexity of eastern North American forests. Global Ecology and Biogeography. DOI: 10.1111/geb.13180

Hall, S., Ye, C., Weintraub, S., 2020. Molecular trade-offs in soil organic carbon composition at continental scale. Nature geoscience 13. DOI: 10.1038/s41561-020-0634-x

Chadwick, K., Brodrick, P., Grant, K., et al. 2020. Integrating airborne remote sensing and field campaigns for ecology and Earth system science. Methods in Ecology and Evolution 11(11). DOI: 10.1111/2041-210X.13463

Squires, F., Nemitz, E., Langford, B., et al. 2020. Measurements of traffic-dominated pollutant emissions in a Chinese megacity. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 20(14). DOI: 10.5194/acp-20-8737-2020

NEON is now on Instagram!

We look forward to sharing images from across the Observatory with you.

Follow us on Instagram here, or search for @neon.sci