From the mountains of Maine to the streets of Manhattan, the Northeast (Domain 01) contains something for everyone. The Domain features a variety of natural habitats as well as some of the largest and oldest urban areas in the U.S. The NEON field sites in Massachusetts and New Hampshire provide opportunities to study how these ecosystems are responding to pressures from climate change, invasive species, and human activities.
Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi are found in nearly every ecosystem, quietly helping plants absorb nutrients from the soil. Dr. Bala Chaudhary wants to build a better model of how these vital ecosystem players disperse across the continent. She is using NEON’s Assignable Assets program to examine the role of aerial dispersal in AM fungal movement.
Dr. Zachary Kayler, an assistant professor in the Department of Soil and Water Systems at the University of Idaho, used NEON soil samples to test the ability of a widely-used soil health metric to detect changes from an extreme weather event - Hurricane Maria - in Puerto Rico.
Sites flown in 2017 did not have a uniform QAQC document available for the L3 tiles – a data quality measure implemented at the start of the 2018 flight season. As of August 19, 2020, these data have been corrected and available for download.
NEON has begun the process of reconfiguring the multisondes to report DO % saturation relative to local atmospheric pressure, which will be published as a new parameter in the water quality data product. In the interim, NEON has developed the localPressureDO R-package.
In order to improve usability of the Observational System terrestrial biogeochemistry data products, we are repackaging several data products to deliver all of the relevant data for sample sets in one download. We hope this improves the overall user experience for NEON terrestrial biogeochemistry data products.
Dr. Monica Papes, assistant professor and Spatial Analysis Lab Director at the University of Tennessee Knoxville, spoke with us about how an encouraging student advisor provided her with opportunities that changed the focus of her research, and how a more diverse department helps her to feel confident about her place in academia.
Can technology fill in the missing pieces when humans can’t get to the field? While there will almost certainly be data gaps for NEON and other large-scale ecological programs this year, automated instrument programs can still provide a lot of ecological insights. In the future, emerging technologies such as drones, smart sensors, and robots could help ecologists collect field data even under challenging circumstances.
The NEON field sites in the Desert Southwest Domain (D14) collect data that can help researchers better understand how the monsoon impacts the ecology of the southwestern deserts and monitor how the monsoon season may be changing over time.
NEON recently obtained approval to begin testing small mammal blood and ear tissue samples for tick-borne pathogens rather than hantaviruses. This change will be reflected in the data product beginning in the 2020 field season.
Jeffery Cannon, a Forest Management Scientist at The Jones Center, is using remote sensing data from the NEON program to understand how longleaf pine forests are impacted by and recover from major weather events. He and his colleagues will use the results to develop tools to help forest managers plan restoration and conservation efforts.
From the glaciers of Glacier National Park to the geysers of Yellowstone, the Northern Rockies Domain (D12) is home to some of the most stunning landscapes in the U.S. Sprawling across 290,000 km2 (112,000 square miles) of western Montana, Idaho, and northwestern Wyoming, the Domain boasts more than 20 national parks and forests and millions of acres of protected wilderness.
The LI-840 Infrared Gas Analyzer requires more maintenance and has an observed failure rate higher than other NEON sensors measuring atmospheric carbon dioxide and water vapor. This has led to multiple data gaps and periods of flagged data. We are investigating the issue further.
We have recently discovered multiple instances where timestamps became out of sync between the Picarro G2131 and L2130 instruments and computers, and what was assigned to the data points upon transmission to NEON Headquarters. We are raising the science review flag for the affected time periods and investigating the possibility of data correction.
This is an update to past posts about microbial community composition data products. We are developing an in-house data processing pipeline to generate the microbial community composition data products.
Jennifer Cotton , an assistant professor in the Department of Geological Sciences at California State University Northridge, who specializes in paleoclimatic and paleoenvironmental reconstructions of terrestrial ecosystems, shares with us her experiences with mentorship, both as a mentee and as a source of support and inspiration for her students.
The NEON program has now made data from its 47 flux towers available through the AmeriFlux data portal. This will allow researchers to synthesize data from the NEON flux towers with data from other towers across the AmeriFlux network.
Andrew Fricker, used remote sensing data from the NEON Airborne Observation Platform to train a neural net to classify tree species in a Sierra Nevada forest. He and his coauthors describe their approach in Remote Sensing: “A Convolutional Neural Network Classifier Identifies Tree Species in Mixed-Conifer Forest from Hyperspectral Imagery.”
Chris Gough, an associate professor of biology at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), is using data from the NEON program to explore relationships between forest structure, biodiversity, and other characteristics and their ability to sequester carbon. His collaborative work with PIs from the University of Connecticut and Purdue University was recently published in Ecology: “High Rates of Primary Production in Structurally Complex Forests."
A fix has been developed for the issue of missing atmospheric pressure corrections for the soil CO2 concentration data product (DP1.00095.001). Previously published soil CO2 concentration data has been flagged and corrected data are expected to be published by July.
The full timeseries of most instrumented data products (exceptions below) were reprocessed with the most recent algorithms, quality control thresholds, and/or other metadata to improve overall data coverage and quality.
A review of the precipitation data product (part of DP1.00006.001) identified that spurious trace precipitation is recorded frequently for all primary precipitation sensors (weighing gauges). We are working on additional quality control algorithms in order to detect and remove spurious trace events in the primary precipitation data product.
NEON recently discovered an error in the algorithm that creates the Wind speed and direction above water on-buoy (DP1.20059.001) data product. Data from the corrected algorithm will be republished following a large data republication effort.
The Ozarks Complex (Domain 08) takes its name from the Ozark Mountains and Plateau, but this diverse Domain contains more than just mountains. Stretching across the southern U.S. from eastern Oklahoma and Texas to western Georgia, D08 supports a variety of ecosystems ranging from upland hardwood forests to coastal floodplains. The NEON program field sites in Alabama provide a window into watershed dynamics in the southeastern U.S.
Understanding why tick populations are increasing, and why some species are spreading into new geographic areas, is of critical importance to public health. In a recent study, researchers used NEON data to develop a model of tick population dynamics at the Ordway Swisher Biological Station field site.
Large data downloads using neonUtilities may fail to download all available data due to the new API rate limit. We are working to release a new version of neonUtilities that handles this situation smoothly.