By Wendy Gram
NEON Member Institution representatives learned about NEON data collection first-hand this week during a visit the Central Plains Experimental Range (CPER), the Domain 10 core site. This site tour was part of the 2014 NEON Membership Meeting, held October 21-22 in Boulder, CO at NEON Headquarters.
A group of 20 participants toured the CPER site for roughly 90 minutes, interacting with the Domain 10/13 field staff. The NEON tower parcel at CPER was split into four groups highlighting a few NEON data collection techniques, including:
- The NEON tower overview presentation by Bernice Hwang and Hank Loescher
- Plant phenology, mosquito abundance, diversity and infectious disease presented by Hannah Schratel
- Productivity and biodiversity presented by Kevin Barrett
- Small mammal ecology presented by Craig Emerson
The main theme for the visit was "How can I integrate these techniques/protocols/sites into my own work? How can I use all of this NEON data?"
The tour ended with a delicious white chicken chili lunch provided by Honey's Highway Café of Nunn, CO and presentations by Melinda Smith, the CSU SGSRIC director, Justin Derner, NEON's USDA site host and regional Climate Hub lead, and Hank Loescher. The topic of integration came up over and over again with participants clearly interested in getting their hands on NEON products as soon as possible.
During day 2 of the meeting, more than 30 scientists participated in a workshop titled Scaling Ecological Processes, organized by co-chairs Michael Dietze (Boston University) and David Moore (University of Arizona), and led by Michael Dietze. The workshop focused on fostering cross-fertilization across sub-disciplines, flushing out key theoretical questions, and identifying useful analytical tools (statistical & process-based) for addressing questions of scale using NEON data. A combination of “lightning slide” presentations (5 minutes long) and targeted discussions created a lively exchange of ideas and many opportunities for future projects.