May 2021
A Message from Chief Scientist & Observatory Director Dr. Paula Mabee
Summer is just around the corner! While we are not out of the COVID-19 woods yet, I'm happy to report that as of writing this, all NEON Domains are operating at "normal" capacity - of course with the use of PPE, distancing, and other safety precautions. The Airborne Observation Platform is flying according to schedule - data collection flights commenced according to a regularly updated schedule. The safety of all NEON operations is evaluated continually - you can keep up to date with our weekly Observatory Status on our webpage.
Our Biorepository (housed primarily at Arizona State University) is also still open for business! NEON collects and archives over 100,000 biological, genomic, and geological samples and specimens from terrestrial and aquatic sites each year. This rich resource complements NEON data, and samples are available upon request to support research studies and analyses. Whether you are looking for soils, plants, beetles, or more, you can request samples through our Biorepository Data Portal. I encourage you to check it out!
As always, I hope you are staying safe and well!

How do you collect phenology data at a large scale for an elusive species like the deer mouse? Drs. Bryan McLean and Robert Guralnick combined mammal trapping data from the NEON program with a century of museum data to find insights into the environmental drivers of reproduction for small mammals.

Can machine learning be used for accurate species identification of beetles and other invertebrates? Dr. Katie Marshall and Jarrett Blair and the University of British Columbia sought to answer this question using carabid beetle data from the NEON program. The hope to leverage machine learning to identify other species of caught in the NEON beetle pitfall traps.

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.
Domain 07, in the heartland of the U.S., is a land of rolling hills, steep ridges, gentle valleys, and many shades of green. The Appalachians and Cumberland Plateau feature some of the world's oldest mountains and the world's largest hardwood-forested plateau. The region's rich geologic history and temperate, moist climate have made it one of the most biodiverse areas of North America.

Every year, the NEON program hires between 230-250 seasonal field technicians. These seasonal workers, often recent college graduates, are tasked with collecting field observations and physical samples at NEON field sites. A new internal Online Training Center makes it easier to standardize training across the NEON Domains and track training progress for new recruits.

We spoke with Dr. Bala Chaudhary, assistant professor of Environmental Science and Studies at DePaul University, about her career, about how the lack of representation of people of color – both while she was in school and in her professional career – drives her to work toward creating a more equitable academic system, and she shared insightful ways that universities and labs can improve.

Recently, SciTeens partnered with Florida State University to offer a virtual Data Science Camp for high school students in Florida. Participants learned how to manipulate and analyze data in the Python computer language and present data at a college level. The students in the Ecological Data Science Camp explored data from the NEON program and had an introduction into techniques for importing and analyzing the data.

Happy Earth Day! Many NEON field sites are hosted by or colocated with organizations that do conservation and restoration work. The data NEON collects at these sites provide a window into how ecosystems are changing and the impact of restoration efforts.

Dr. Erin Hotchkiss talked with us about her current and upcoming projects, including a collaboration with NEON using sensors at NEON stream sites to investigate the relationships between terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.

Forbes, May 25, 2021

The Brink, May 5, 2021

Newsbreak, April 22, 2021

The Washington Post, April 20, 2021

Greenbiz, March 31, 2021

April 12:NEON & the Organization of Biological Field Stations (OBFS) held an informal chat with researchers using NEON data to examine carbon storage and cycling in ecosystems within Colorado, Maryland, and Virginia. Find out who they are, how they got interested in ecological carbon research, and the research questions they are asking. View the recorded event.

March 4: NEON Domain 07 Field Ecologist Sarah Szito presented to the 2021 GSMNP Science Colloquium about plant community data from NEON's Great Smoky Mountains National Park field site. View the recorded webinar.

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. Read current operational status updates.

Did you know NEON has over 103,000 samples from over 700 taxa stored at the NEON Biorepository? These samples are available upon request to support research studies and analyses. Discover and access NEON's archived samples on the NEON Biorepository Data Portal. Explore the portal.

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.

This workshop introduces participants to NEON, teaches them how to access and work with NEON data, and allows them to interact with NEON science staff to get assistance working on the specific data products they are interested in using. The workshop includes hands-on, interactive instruction on how to access and work with NEON data, both through the NEON data portal and programmatically. Learn more.

Arizona State University (ASU) is working with NEON to collect information that informs our understanding of the use of large-scale data sets in higher education as well as familiarity and usage/non-usage of NEON data. Data gathered will be used to inform outreach efforts, for educational planning purposes, and to support growing efforts to make ecology a more just, diverse, and inclusive field. This short survey aims to gather feedback from higher education administrators, faculty, and staff. The link is anonymous - no identifying information will be attached to your responses. A summary of the survey findings will be made publicly available by the end of the year. Take survey.

Registration Deadline: June 1, 2021. The Ecological Forecasting Initiative Student Association (EFISA) is hosting a 2-day event to focus on enabling early career (undergraduate students, graduate students, postdocs) scientists to participate in ecological forecasting. Event will specifically focus on enabling early career scientists to participate in the EFI RCN NEON Ecological Forecast Challenge by providing skills-based workshops that teach fundamental and applied skills for forecasting, as well as highlighting forecasts in development by students and early-career researchers for submission to the challenge. Register here.

The 2021 Annual Meeting for the Ecological Society of America will be held virtually this year, Monday August 2nd – Friday, August 6th. This year's theme is Vital Connections in Ecology. Early-bird registration is currently open through June 24. Learn more and register.

The Environmental Data Science Inclusion Network (EDSIN) announced a 2-day online workshop that will inform the development of culturally responsive data science curricula in the environmental sciences through collaboration, learning, and creation. The workshop will engage data scientists, educators, community leaders, and others in discussions around this important topic. Applications will be released Call for applications is now open until June 4. Learn more.
More and more researchers are using NEON data! Publications that use NEON data and resources are identified and imported into a public Zotero library, where they are tagged to make them easy to query.

View the newest publications here.
Learn how to find papers of interest here.

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. If you know of a publication not included in the list, please notify us.
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