January 2021
A Message from Chief Scientist & Observatory Director Dr. Paula Mabee
It’s a New Year, and NEON is looking forward to 2021! We already have some new efforts and initiatives in the works.

One milestone I’m excited about for the Observatory is our first Data Release! Now, at the end of each calendar year, NEON will conduct a thorough review of our data, make any final corrections, and tag data files with a release year and unique DOI, which supports best practices for citation in papers and publications. These files will never be changed, allowing for reproducibility. When properly cited, these efforts will support more accurate and efficient tracking of NEON data use so we can better characterize their value and better serve our community. We are proud to announce that the January 2021 release is now available through the NEON Data Portal.

In other virtual news, Battelle NEON has joined five other analogous observing networks in committing to the development of the first-ever Global Ecosystem Research Infrastructure (GERI). This GERI infrastructure will enable researchers to ask environmental questions of societal and scientific importance across continents. A bit closer to home – but still continent-wide – NEON has chosen 12 fellows from our sprawling Domains who will work with the AGU’s Thriving Earth Exchange program to better serve and connect with our local communities. We’re excited for this new partnership to blossom!

Finally, I want to note we will be sending this newsletter out more frequently, about every other month. I hope this helps you to stay updated on updates the NEON program, the great research facilitated by our free and open data, and the numerous resources that our dedicated staff and partners produce.

As always, I hope this finds you healthy and as well as possible, and I wish you the best for this coming year!

An investigation into freshwater diatoms from the NEON aquatic field sites in Puerto Rico led to a reclassification of diatom taxa in the region, and the possible discovery of a new diatom species. A paper recently published in Phytotaxa details the results of the research, which was enabled by samples from the NEON Biorepository.

NASA monitors soil moisture levels and freeze/thaw conditions across the globe using a satellite orbiting 426 miles (685 km) above the Earth. To help validate and calibrate these satellite data, NASA relies on direct measurements taken by partners on the ground. Through a new collaboration with Battelle, soil moisture data collected at the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) field sites will now be part of those validation efforts.

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.
The Great Lakes Domain is named for its most recognizable feature: the Great Lakes themselves. At our field sites in Wisconsin and Michigan, we're collecting data representing different management practices in the northern pine and hardwood forests. The data will help researchers understand how land management practices impact both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems in the region.

A new remote monitoring and near real-time alert system is helping NEON scientists rapidly detect and diagnose data anomalies that may indicate a problem with sensors or software.

Dr. Harmon-Threatt, associate professor of entomology at the University of Illinois School of Integrative Biology, discusses how her mentors first opened her eyes to the possibility of pursuing a career in ecology and how she hopes to provide the same opportunities to her female students, especially those of color, to increase the representation of women of color in academia and the natural sciences.

NEON's 2020 contributions demonstrate the significant impact this data has on ecological science. Here are 10 of the most exciting news items from the NEON program in the past year.

NEON employees submitted and voted on the best picks for virtual background photos, and the results are in!

The NEON program is excited to welcome our first cohort of Postdoctoral Fellows! Starting in January 2021, these three early-career scientists will be working in collaboration with NEON staff and the wider user community to leverage NEON data for scientific discovery.

A newly signed MoU reaffirms the long-standing partnerships among six analogous but independent observing networks that monitor the ecosystems that underpin life on Earth, expressly committing to the development of the first-ever Global Ecosystem Research Infrastructure (GERI).

Photonics Media, December 30, 2021

The Sun Gazette, November 25, 2020

University of Arizona News, November 20, 2020

University of Minnesota Cloquet Forestry Center, November 3, 2020

The State Press, October 26, 2020

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 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. Browse NEON's Learning Hub.

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.

The 2021 AAAS Meeting will be held entirely online from February 8-11, with related pre-released materials already available. NEON staff will be participating in the conference. This year's theme is "Understanding Dynamic Ecosystems." Learn more and register.

The goal of this event is to give students the chance to explore opportunities in biology and paleontology through workshops, panels, career shadowing, and tabling. NEON is participating with a video highlighting a day in the life of a NEON aquatic field ecologist. This conference is open to both collegiate and precollegiate students. Registration closes January 31. Learn more and register.

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. Learn more.

The Ecological Society of America's 2021 Annual Meeting is inviting proposals for contributed talks and posters! Submit your abstract by 5pm EST on Thursday, February 25. Navigate to the ESA Meeting website for more on this year's conference and how to submit. Learn more.

Did you know you can request your own mobile NEON site? We're excited to get our Mobile Deployment Platforms (MDPs) out into the field and working for you! Learn how to request an MDP, what measurements it can take, costs, potential use cases, and more! You can find more info on MDPs and our other Assignable Assets here. Watch our Upcoming Events to stay apprised of this webinar - happening mid-March - and sign up. 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.

Record, S., et al. 2021. Novel Insights to Be Gained From Applying Metacommunity Theory to Long-Term, Spatially Replicated Biodiversity Data. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. https://doi.org/10.3389/fevo.2020.612794

Farwell, L.S., et al. 2021. Satellite image texture captures vegetation heterogeneity and explains patterns of bird richness. Remote Sensing of Environment. 253. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rse.2020.112175

McGarvey, DJ. 2020. Individual‐level data reveal high prevalence of positive size‐trophic position relationships for vertebrates in temperate streams. Freshwater Biology. 00:1– 12. https://doi.org/10.1111/fwb.13666

Dangal, S.R.S., Sanderman, J. 2020. Is Standardization Necessary for Sharing of a Large Mid-Infrared Soil Spectral Library? Sensors. 20(23):6729. https://doi.org/10.3390/s20236729

Hermes, A.L., et al. 2020. From Patch to Catchment: A Statistical Framework to Identify and Map Soil Moisture Patterns Across Complex Alpine Terrain. Frontiers in Water. https://doi.org/10.3389/frwa.2020.578602

Heckman, K.A., et al. 2020. Divergent controls on carbon concentration and persistence between forests and grasslands of the conterminous US. Biogeochemistry. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10533-020-00725-z

McGregor, I.R., et al. 2020. Tree height and leaf drought tolerance traits shape growth responses across droughts in a temperate broadleaf forest. New Phytologist. https://doi.org/10.1111/nph.16996

Kamoske, A.G., et al. 2020. Leaf traits and canopy structure together explain canopy functional diversity: an airborne remote sensing approach. Ecological Applications. https://doi.org/10.1002/eap.2230

Abayon, M.A., et al. 2020. Occurrence of Distinct Carabid Beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae) in Eastern Visayas, Philippines. Journal of Entomological Science. 55(4):507–519. https://doi.org/10.18474/0749-8004-55.4.507

Adkison, C. et al. 2020. Using High-Frequency Water Vapor Isotopic Measurements as a Novel Method to Partition Daily Evapotranspiration in an Oak Woodland. Water. 12(11):2967. https://doi.org/10.3390/w12112967

Khati, U., et al. 2020. Assessment of Forest Biomass Estimation from Dry and Wet SAR Acquisitions Collected during the 2019 UAVSAR AM-PM Campaign in Southeastern United States. Remote Sensing. 2(20):3397. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12203397

Follow NEON on social media!

Keep up to date with the latest from NEON by following us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram!

Also don't miss our Youtube Channel!