Our May Spotlight highlights the invaluable impact of the NEON program on the future of science and the way we understand the effect of human interaction with nature. This month we feature a study that uncovers a link between severe drought and the spread of West Nile virus, the discovery of new insect species, and a thorough dissection of how NEON is critical in supporting research in the face of compounding disasters.
This Month’s Spotlight
The latest news from NEON includes:
- New research suggests as the severe California droughts intensify, the percentage of infected West Nile mosquitoes increases. The link? Bird behavior. This counterintuitive relationship between less water and more West Nile virus-carrying mosquitoes was described in 2017 by a NEON scientist who studied the relationship between climate change and the virus.
- Two new species of ground beetles were identified at a National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) field site at Pu’u Mala’ala Natural Area Reserve (PUUM) in Hawaii. Studying carabid populations across geographic regions and over time can provide insights into climate and ecosystem change and ecosystem dynamics. NEON’s carabid data will allow researchers to keep a close eye on shifting populations in Hawaii and across the country.
- Resilience in the face of environmental disaster is critical at a time when the rising global temperature is causing substantial increases in the frequency and severity floods, wildfires, hurricanes, and droughts. NEON has demonstrated internal resilience in the face of the public health crisis of COVID-19 and has also enhanced the resilience of ecological research communities associated with the network and provided crucial information for quantifying the impacts of and responses to disturbance events on natural systems—their ecological resilience.
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.
You can read about the latest work and research in the NEON Spotlight every month at Inside Battelle, and on our social media channels. For more information about NEON, visit NEONscience.org.