Spatial and Temporal Scaling in Continental-Scale Ecology Workshop
Understanding the functioning of ecosystems and how they respond across scales is one of the fundamental challenges in ecology. This is of particular importance as we extend ecological analysis beyond local and regional scales to the continental scale. A workshop focused on scaling of ecological data from small scales to the continental scale was hosted by the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) on 11-12 June 2012 in Boulder, Colorado and attended by over 50 researchers. The workshop addressed key issues associated with the influence of scale on the interpretation of ecological variation, particularly in the context of continental-scale terrestrial ecology. These questions are particularly relevant to NEON, the first ecological observation platform designed to assess the natural and human causes of and the biological consequences of environmental change at large scales.
The workshop focused on three primary questions that extended over a range of scales: combining airborne and satellite remote sensing data to initialize, constrain, and test vegetation and biogeochemical models; how to facilitate better ground-based field sampling strategies and their integration with instrumental measurements using high-resolution airborne data; and, how to characterize source area topographic and vegetation heterogeneity with airborne data as an aid to explain observed variability from flux towers, and these issues were addressed in topical breakout sessions.