Request Megapit Soil Samples

Megapit soils are collected from multiple horizons at a single soil pit that is up to 2m deep. These samples serve as a reference of soil physical and chemical conditions at the time the NEON site was constructed.

Sample

Horizon(S)

Processing

Storage Conditions

Volume/ Mass Stored

Site Type

Sampling Frequency per site

Locations Per Site

Soil Mega-Pit

Multiple

Air-dried, mineral soil sieved to ≤ 2mm  

Ambient temperature, glass jars

1.2 or 3.6 kg; each horizon

Terrestrial sites

Once

One

Each Megapit soil sample is carefully documented in a metadata document that includes:

  • Latitude, longitude, elevation and sampling date
  • Soil taxonomy, profile description and photos
  • Texture, bulk density and pH
  • Total carbon (C), nitrogen (N), sulfur (S), aluminum (Al), calcium (Ca), iron (Fe), potassium (K), magnesium (Mg), manganese (Mn), sodium (Na), phosphorous (P), silicon (Si), strontium (Sr), titanium (Ti) and zirconium (Zr)

Please visit the NEON Data Portal to browse currently available Megapit soil data. 

Permit Requirements

All requesters must have a Permit to Receive Soil (PPQ 525) from the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS), or from an equivalent international service. Find information about the permit at the APHIS website. The NEON soil permit prohibits NEON from sending soil to laboratories that do not have an active permit.

Considerations for Approval

In order to balance preservation and sample use, please request only the minimum amount of soil needed for your study. Any amount of material may be requested; however, the NEON project is more likely to approve requests for smaller quantities of soil per sample (e.g., <20 g per sample). Requests for larger quantities may be approved if justified and the aim of the study passes the merit review. Please do not request spare or extra soil material.

All requests undergo a review process to evaluate the scientific and quantity justifications by members of the NEON project science staff. The NEON project evaluates requests to ensure that

  1. A legitimate research project is the basis for the request;
  2. The use of NEON soil samples is important for achieving the study goals; and
  3. The quantity is justified. The NEON project also reviews whether a sample was previously used for the same purpose.

In the event that the request does not pass the merit review for the science justification or if a quantity cannot be agreed upon, a requester may have their request evaluated by an external panel. In order to comply with our soil permit, NEON requests permission in advance from USDA-APHIS to ship soil samples.

To complete this request form, you must include:

  1. Your full name and affiliation
  2. A copy of your USDA-APHIS permit to receive soil
  3. A brief project objective, description and justification for the use of NEON samples
  4. A list of each analysis you will perform, the quantity of soil required for each analysis and a justification for the quantity used in each analysis
  5. A detailed list of requested samples

Please allow 2 months for the processing of all requests. If you have any questions, please email the Soil Archive Team.

Please the name of the institution or organization you are affiliated with.
Please attach a copy of your USDA-APHIS Permit to Receive Soils. Accepted file types include .pdf, .gif, .jpg and .png. Maximum upload size is 2MB. Submit relevant national permit if located outside of the U.S.

Please upload a description and justification for your request for NEON samples that includes:

  1. A brief project objective, description and justification for the use of NEON samples
  2. A list of analyses you will perform, the quantity of soil required for each analysis and a justification for the quantity used in each analysis
  3. A detailed list of requested samples. Do not request spare or extra soil material. 
Accepted file types include .doc, .docx and .pdf. Maximum upload size is 2MB.

Citation Policy

  • Please cite data use as “NEON Soil Archive: The NEON Project Soil Archive”, or other citation as approved by Battelle;
  • Include a description of the dataset in publications or products, including number of samples used, name of the NEON Project site where samples were obtained and horizons used; and
  • Cite the following documents for the corresponding descriptions: 
    • NEON field sampling and collection methods: Ayres E, Zulueta R (2013) TIS Soil Pit Sampling Protocol. NEON.DOC.001307;
    • NEON Soil Archive sample processing: Ayres and Loescher (2012) NEON Field and Lab Procedure and Protocol: TIS Soil Archiving. NEON.DOC.000325; and
    • NEON Soil Archive requestor subsample processing: Ayres E (2013) Subsample collection from the TIS Soil Archive. NEON.DOC.001306.
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