Fall arrives at different times and in different ways across the Observatory. Here's a glimpse at how autumn is unrolling across NEON field sites, viewed through phenocams at our field sites, and how 2023 looks compared to 2022.
The NEON Great Lakes User Group brings people together in the Great Lakes region to foster collaborative research opportunities. In September, the first in-person meeting of GLUG was held, a workshop supported through an NSF award.
At the 32 sites where breeding landbird point counts are conducted in 9-point grids, two-thirds of counts have been reported with incorrect point IDs due to a transposition error when convertingnumeric point labels (1-9) into alphanumeric point IDs (A1-C3) during data ingest.
An error in many of the sensor calibration files means that the reported measurement uncertainty in the soil water content data product (DP1.00094.001) is lower than the actual measurement uncertainty for many locations.
NEON has weathered several unexpected events. Through it all, the Observatory team, managed by Battelle, has responded with ingenuity, resilience, and a positive spirit to ensure the safety of our people and maximize data continuity and availability.
The conductivity timeseries data in Reaeration and Salt-based discharge are being moved into individual files per sampling event. This affects the rea_conductivityFieldData and sbd_conductivityFieldData tables. Users of these data should update neonUtilities to version 2.4.0 or greater to ensure correct data stacking.
The Data Portal and the neonUtilities R package have been updated to default to downloading only data from the most recent Data Release. Provisional data, which are subject to change without notice, are still accessible, but are downloadable on an opt-in basis, rather than opt-out.
A recent paper in Global Ecology and Biology, Habitat–trait interactions that control response to climate change: North American ground beetles, explores the connections between climate change, habitat types, and ground beetle traits. The study could help researchers model which ground beetle species may be at risk and the habitats needing protection to preserve them.
The Data Portal and the neonUtilities R package are being updated to default to downloading only data from the most recent Data Release. Provisional data, which are subject to change without notice, will still be accessible, but will be downloaded on an opt-in basis, rather than opt-out.
In July, the NEON Ambassadors convened a virtual workshop focusing on NEON derived data products. Participants are now working on a summary paper to outline best practices in creating, validating, and using derived data products. It's one more way the NEON Ambassadors are helping to make NEON data more usable and understandable for the wider research community.
The soil heat flux data processing code has been updated to account for the change in timing introduced by the new site infrastructure. All affected data have been reprocessed and republished and soil heat flux data availability has returned to previous levels.
It was previously reported that chlorophyll-a measurements in the Water quality data product (DP1.20288.001) were being reported in the wrong units starting in late 2021 or early 2022 and ending March 16, 2023 for the ten river and lake sites (BARC, BLWA, CRAM, FLNT, LIRO, PRLA, PRPO, SUGG, TOMB, and TOOK). The issue has been corrected, and all provisional data not included in RELEASE-2023 (collected since July 1, 2022) were updated on the Data Portal.
We spoke with Dr. Phoebe Lehmann Zarnetske, an ecologist and associate professor at Michigan State University, about her path through academia, the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration, and the challenges of maintaining a work-life balance. She also shares her thoughts on what it will take for scientific contributions to be more widely adopted for broader societal challenges.
Can water quality be forecast just like the weather? For Dr. Quinn Thomas, that is the ultimate goal. He and fellow researchers tested a model for forecasting lake temperatures at six NEON lake sites. Their results were recently published in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. Thomas is also the Principal Investigator for the EFI-RCN NEON Forecasting Challenge, which seeks to create a community of ecological forecasters using NEON data to test forecasting models.
2023 marks the 10th anniversary of operations for NEON's Airborne Observation Platform (AOP)! The effort that goes into making the flight schedules, calibrating the instrument payloads, making sure everything goes smoothly, and collecting high-quality data requires a dedicated team. The AOP team consists of many moving parts and a myriad of brilliant staff. Meet some more of the team here!
Starting in late 2022 all NEON terrestrial sites were updated with new infrastructure that, among other things, controls the self-calibration process for the soil heat flux sensors (DP1.00040.001). A number of factors have lead to a decline in the amount of valid soil heat flux data. The data processing code is being updated to correct this issue, and it is anticipated that the adjustments will allow soil heat flux availability to return to previous levels.
A unique and endangered ecosystem is nestled in the midst of the city of Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The Oak Ridge Barrens (The Barrens) is home to some of the few remaining pockets of natural prairie left in the state. Tennessee Citizens for Wilderness Planning (TCWP) wanted to perform a scientific inventory of the species composition in the cedar barrens. Margaret Cumberland, ecologist at NEON's Appalachians and Cumberland Plateau Domain (D07), facilitated an AGU-TEX community project to make this happen.
The 2023 EFI Unconference, hosted by the Ecological Forecasting Initiative Research Coordination Network (EFI RCN) and supported by the National Science Foundation, brought together 45 passionate individuals at the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) headquarters in Boulder, Colorado on June 21-23, 2023. The group fostered a unique environment for participants to exchange knowledge, generate new approaches, and advance the field of ecological forecasting.
Dr. Katie Marshall shares the profound impact mentors have had on her, driving her to become a mentor herself. Her captivating career path and cutting-edge research projects serve as a testament to the remarkable achievements of women in the field, underscoring their contributions to ecological research and serving as an inspiration to future scientists. Notably, she highlights the pivotal role played by NEON in driving her research endeavors.
A recent paper in the Journal of Ecology explores correlations between tree species composition, fungal communities, and the relative abundance of different types of carbon in soil at seven NEON eastern forested field sites. Understanding these complex relationships could help researchers build better models of the carbon cycle in forested terrestrial ecosystems.
In our latest Women in Ecology interview, we hear from Clara Qin, a dedicated Ph.D. candidate from UCSC. Qin bridges the gap between ecological knowledge and practical application, and highlights the importance of embracing diverse perspectives and their significant impact on ecological research. Her personal experiences and background - including being a child of immigrants and active in the trans and queer community - have shaped her motivations, aspirations, and transformative moments.
The winter of 2022-23 brought above average precipitation to all of California, starting in early November (Figure 1). In Sierra Nevada, much of this precipitation fell during atmospheric river events that dropped four to six inches of water (two to six feet of snow) in no more than a few days, with most precipitation falling as snow above 6000 ft. The storms caused extensive damage to roads and buildings, road closures due to excessive snow accumulation or washouts, and low and mid-elevation flooding.
Dr. Lynn 'Marty' Martin and Dr. John Orrock are investigating the complex interactions between ticks, mice, and their habitats through a NEON Assignable Assets project. Their work could help illuminate how habitat quality, climate, and the behavioral choices of wild mice influence the spread of a dangerous pathogen.