May 2018
A Note from Sharon Collinge
For me and many field ecologists across North America, the month of May usually brings the eager anticipation of a jam-packed and strenuous field season. For the NEON project, field ecologists at our terrestrial and aquatic field sites across the United States are assembling their equipment and reviewing their methods to implement rigorous data collection protocols for over 150 of data products that have been designed with extensive input from the ecological community. 

As the newly appointed NEON Chief Scientist/Observatory Director, I am deeply inspired by the NEON vision to 1) amass long-term, multi-scale ecological data from across the entire continent and 2) make that data accessible to the ecological community, in order to guide societal understanding of and response to challenging global environmental changes. 

One of my near-term priorities for the NEON project is to refine and implement a strategic engagement plan to cultivate a robust, active, and inclusive NEON user community. The plan incorporates responses from the recent online NEON Community Survey (thanks for participating!) and other feedback collected from the ecological community. The NEON infrastructure and data are tremendous community resources, and I am eager to listen and respond to the diverse constituencies, participants, and stakeholders of NEON. 

Please join me in welcoming another field season, and please know that I welcome your ideas and suggestions for how to continually improve the NEON project to serve the community.

Yours, Sharon Collinge, NEON Chief Scientist/Observatory Director
If you happen to be at a NEON field site during the peak of the growing season this year, look up. There’s a chance you’ll see one of the NEON Airborne Observation Platforms (AOPs) flying overhead. The 2018 flight campaign will run from March to October, covering 13 NEON domains and including 36 terrestrial sites and 14 aquatic sites.

Providing many opportunities for users to provide feedback and get involved in the NEON project is essential to the ultimate success of NEON. To this aim, we've launched a new webpage describing our community feedback and engagement goals. We've also published a report that is a synthesis of feedback from a number of sources, with an emphasis on the recent 2017 community stakeholder survey, to better understand awareness, knowledge, and perceptions of the NEON project as well as interest in using NEON’s data and infrastructure. Read more.
We’ve recently introduced interactive field site maps for many of our aquatic field sites and most of our terrestrial field sites. You can find these maps on each individual field site page, and we will be adding more maps as the location data become available. These maps are a quick and easy way to get a sense of the spatial layout of each field site.

Have you downloaded NEON data only to struggle with the data downloading into individual .csv files by month and field site? We've got some open source code resources to make it easier to work with NEON Data: especially our GitHub NEONUtilities repo for working with R or Python to "stack" or join the data for you, as well as other helpful tools.

What's the best way to forecast ecological changes? How do botanists measure photosynthesis? And what in the world is eddy covariance? You can find the answers to these and other questions on the NEON Science YouTube Channel . The Science Explained videos aim to make the science behind the NEON project simple including this newly published video on ecological forecasting (below). Read more.
This NSF-funded program will provide travel funding to a select cohort of early career scientists interested in going to the 2018 ESA Meeting and using (or learning more about using) NEON for their research. Eligible applicants must apply by May 18, 2018.

The early bird deadline for the 2018 ESA meeting is June 14. In addition to posters and talks, scientists from the NEON project are also presenting two workshops and a symposium.

  • Access and Work with NEON Data Workshop (advance registration required) Sunday, Aug 5, 2018, 12:00PM – 5:00 PM
  • NEON Resources for Your Research Brown Bag Workshop | Monday, Aug 6, 2018. 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM
  • Innovative continental-scale ecological research enabled by NEON Symposium Monday August 6, 2018. 1:30PM – 5PM

We hope to see you at some of these events.
The NEON project isn't just about collecting ecological data. It's also about enabling collaboration between scientists across disciplines to explore fundamental questions about earth systems and ecological processes.

What can the size of a deer mouse tell you about the number of species present in its environment? A lot, as it turns out. A team of ecologists turned to data from the NEON project to look for clues.

The Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) has been collecting ecological data on coastal ecosystems in the Chesapeake Bay area for more than 50 years. Hosting a NEON field site gives SERC scientists access to new local data as well as important comparative data from across the country to further their research goals.

Contact us at 720-746-4844