This month, we highlight the latest contributions of the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) to the future of ecological research. NEON data has provided researchers with new opportunities to make long-term improvements to predictive forecasting methods, spearhead the revolution in offering open phenological data, and demonstrate the value of studying microfauna across the continent to reveal more about climate change.
This Month’s Spotlight
The latest news from NEON includes:
Scientists and resource managers with the grassroots Ecological Forecasting Initiative have leveraged NEON databases to improve and re-imagine the scientific approach to making predictive ecological forecasts. These new models and their predictions will greatly improve how crucial decisions are made in the field.
At the virtual 2020 ESA Meeting, researchers explained how NEON data is contributing to the revolution in open phenological data. The development and implementation of new data integration methods across scales and platforms, and the capability to analyze large datasets, have allowed researchers to study shifts in phenology in response to changing climate without previous data constraints. These innovative methods will give scientists the resources to address both local- and large-scale questions and lay the foundation for the future of phenological research.
Over the past three years, researchers and volunteers led by the National Park Service have collected and classified over 60 species of Carabid beetles in Yellowstone National Park, as these insects are highly sensitive indicators of environmental change. This study, coupled with weather station readings, plant phenology transects, and current data available from the larger NEON network, will help scientists better understand and forecast continental-scale environmental change.
Sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and operated by Battelle, NEON is a continental-scale ecological observatory facility dedicated to providing high-quality, consistently generated 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 project allows the ecological community to tackle questions and problems at a scale that wasn’t possible before.
You can read about the latest research in the NEON Spotlight every month at Inside Battelle, and also on our social media channels. For more information about NEON, visit NEONscience.org.