Types of NEON Field Sites

NEON sites are strategically located across the US within 20 ecoclimatic domains that represent regions of distinct landforms, vegetation, climate and ecosystem dynamics. The Observatory’s regional domain approach is designed to statistically represent ecological, physical and biological variability across the continent. Types of NEON sites include:

Core terrestrial sites

There is one core terrestrial site in each NEON domain. A standard suite of data are collected that characterize terrestrial plants, animals, soil and the atmosphere. Core sites are set up to collect data in one location for 30 years. These core sites are designed to statistically capture terrestrial wildland conditions. The data are comparable across all of NEON's field sites.

Core aquatic sites

There is one core aquatic site in each NEON domain. (Note: there are no aquatic sites in Domain 20: Pacific Tropical). A standard suite of aquatic data are collected that characterize aquatic organisms, sediment and water chemistry, morphology and hydrology at one core aquatic site. Core sites remain at the same location for 30 years and are designed to statistically capture aquatic wildland conditions. The data are comparable across all of NEON's field sites.

Relocatable terrestrial site

There are 27 relocatable terrestrial sites that are distributed throughout NEON's ecoclimatic domains. Relocatable sites differ from core sites in that they may be re-deployed periodically throughout the 30-year term of the observatory to capture terrestrial ecosystems and environmental gradients that are not adequately captured by data collection at core terrestrial sites. Data from relocatable sites are collected using the same standardized methodology from core sites which means the data are comparable across all NEON field sites.

Relocatable aquatic sites

There are 14 relocatable aquatic sites located in a variety of NEON's ecoclimatic domains. Relocatable sites differ from core sites in that they may be re-deployed periodically throughout the 30-year term of the observatory to capture aquatic ecosystems and environmental gradients that are not adequately captured at core aquatic sites. Data from relocatable sites are collected using the same standardized methodology from core sites which means the data are comparable across all NEON field sites.

Color map of NEON's field sites and 20 eco-climatic domains.

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