For March, we’re featuring three ecological advances including a study that investigated the impact of terrestrial ecosystems on climate change, as well as a model that predicts mosquito threats in different locations. We’re also thrilled to highlight NEON D18/19 Assistant Manager Shalane Frost, who broke the overall record at Arrowhead 135, a cross-country ski race in northern Minnesota.
This Month’s Spotlight
The latest news from NEON includes:
- The terrestrial ecosystem is a key player in regulating climate change and can either alleviate or exacerbate the rate and direction of climate change. A recent study used NEON data from three deciduous forest sites to do site-specific parameterization of the terrestrial ecosystem model and explore controls of the net ecosystem carbon uptake. The findings indicate there is a potential bias in models using parameterization at the level of plant functional types, and if temperature-induced gross primary production increases deciduous forests may continue to facilitate long-term carbon retention.
- Data from NEON, NASA’s GLOBE Observer platform, and NOAA informed a Random Forest model that operates on binary classification to predict mosquito threats with 86% accuracy. Given a location and date input, the model produces a threat level based on the number of decision trees that vote for a presence label. The study shows a positive, linear correlation between humidity and mosquito threat and between temperature and mosquito threat below a threshold of 28° C. With the model running on the cloud and within ArcGIS Dashboard, accurate and granular real-time threat level predictions can be made at any latitude and longitude.
- NEON D18/19 AssistantManager Shalane Frost broke the overall skiing record at the Arrowhead 135, a cross-country ski race in northern Minnesota, setting the fastest pace since the event started in 2005. Frost completed the race in 20 hours and 41 minutes, surpassing the previous overall record by 16 minutes and smashing the previous women’s record by more than 14 hours. “I was confident I could get the women’s record. It was 35 hours,” Frost said. “I didn’t actually think that I would have a shot at the men’s record. That’s fast, a 6.6 miles per hour average.” Frost is slated to race again this month at the White Mountains 100, near Fairbanks, AK, and she is planning to compete in additional races this year.
Sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and operated by Battelle, NEON is a continental-scale ecological observatory network dedicated to providing high-quality, consistently generated, standardized data that is free and available to all users. By enabling scientists, researchers, and students to address critical questions and understand ecosystem changes over time, the NEON program allows the ecological community to tackle questions and problems at a scale that was not possible before.