Special Issue: Mobile Deployment Platforms - Feb 2021
Dear NEON Community,
Last year’s historic wildfires were a vivid display of the important role disturbance plays in shaping our landscapes, and likely catalyzed new research questions for many in the ecological community. For researchers wanting to study such disturbances, or to supplement their field work, NEON’s Mobile Deployment Platforms (MDPs) are an ideal tool and asset. 

We invite you to join NEON for a webinar to learn all about NEON’s MDPs, how they work, and how you can get one working for you.

Tuesday March 16, 2021
11:00 - 11:45 AM MST (1:00 - 1:45 PM EST)

You can also view the event page here. Please pass along this invitation to all interested!

NEON maintains a fleet of five Mobile Deployment Platforms (MDPs) which can be delivered to PI-chosen sites across landscapes in the U.S. MDPs use the same sensors, processing algorithms, and data QA/QC criteria as standard NEON sites, but can be rapidly deployed to recent disturbance events or ongoing research projects. Essentially, each MDP is a personalized NEON site allowing external researchers to collect standardized NEON data (atmospheric, terrestrial, aquatic) at the location of their choosing.
Each of NEON’s five MDPs consists of a core supporting infrastructure for deploying sensors in terrestrial and/or aquatic environments. Core infrastructure includes:

  • Rohn25G tower that can be configured for various heights up to 100 feet
  • Mobile instrument support hut housed on a trailer
  • Ability to tie into on-site power
  • Ability to link to remote network communications (e.g., cellular network, satellite)
  • A configurable array of atmospheric, aquatic, and soil sensors
  • Ability to incorporate additional PI instrumentation
A deployed MDP is maintained by NEON science and engineering teams for the duration of the campaign. Data collected by MDPs are processed by the NEON program and delivered to the research team. NEON also provides MDP users with a customized data skills workshop to assist faculty and students in fully leveraging data collected by the MDP and the broader network.
Under our mandate from the National Science Foundation (NSF), MDPs are deployed on a cost recoverable basis - NEON must recoup base costs for deployments. For this reason, external funding is required for researchers requesting deployment of an MDP. Funding can be sought through opportunities from several agencies, including NASA (e.g., ROSES, Terrestrial Ecology Program), USDA, and NSF (e.g., RAPIDs for quick turnaround for studying disturbance events or EAGERs). 

For those interested in pursuing funding for an MDP, we encourage you to reach out to a program officer at NSF. For feasibility questions, please connect with NEON through our Assignable Assets Program (you can initiate the process here). We can provide detailed costs, planning and technical assistance, and Letters of Support to accompany any proposal submissions.  
Please feel free to reach out if you have any additional questions by contacting one of our AA staff or via our Observatory Contact Form. We look forward to working with you!

-The NEON Team
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.
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 serves as an accessible research platform for Principal Investigator-driven research and environmental studies. Research support includes access to NEON infrastructure, site coordination, labor pool of field ecologists, engineering, and science staff. These services are mainly cost recoverable and dependent on availability of resources. Learn about the different components of the NEON Assignable Assets Program, the types of NEON research support services, and infrastructure you can access!. 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 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! Join us March 16, 11-11:45 AM Mountain Time. You can find more info on MDPs and our other Assignable Assets here. 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.
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