In this issue
NEON staff, offices and sites in Colorado were spared the worst impacts of the historic flooding that ravaged much of the state earlier this month. Leaky roofs, soggy basements and mandatory evacuations notwithstanding, we are back to work and back on schedule after closing headquarters for three business days.
Ecologically sensitive construction
NEON has to build dozens of sites across the country that satisfy its scientific and operations requirements, and we have to do it on time and under budget. One key requirement for NEON site construction is that construction activities have zero impact on the surrounding ecosystem. A recent article in the Engineering News-Record describes how NEON scientists and construction staff and NEON and Leo Daly engineers negotiate this challenge:
The restrictions on use of automation and machinery reduce construction productivity and drive up cost. But there is no point to beginning a large-scale experiment in a manner that may cause material impact to the outcomes.
But the biggest factor impacting the zero-impact approach is incredulity. A common reaction from contractors, once they review the construction requirements, is “You want us to do what?”
Summer has officially turned to fall, and in much of the U.S., the change is hard to miss. Apples swell and ripen, and hillsides don brilliantly colored capes as the trees and shrubs change their leaves. You can turn your observations of seasonal changes into citizen science data by logging a plant observation with NEON’s Project Budburst.
NEON and the Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network in Australia are tackling many similar and shared challenges in areas such as ecosystem informatics, plant and soil sampling protocols, and data assimilation. A recent TERN newsletter summarized the many ways we’re putting our heads together with our Australian counterparts. Stay tuned for a joint TERN-NEON session at the AGU meeting this December.
We recently posted a list of our aquatic sensors and interim guidelines to request soil samples from our growing archive.
A team of researchers led by Phil Townsend at the University of Wisconsin recently received NASA funding to prototype a new public repository for standardized, high-quality spectral measurements of vegetation. The new Ecological Spectral Information System is designed to enhance the accessibility and utility of new and existing spectral vegetation data.
EcoSIS will archive and curate a collection of existing and new spectral vegetation data including species type and leaf properties of measured plants. NEON will contribute field sampling protocols, spectral data collected on the ground and by airborne instruments, and a suite of complementary ecosystem data products from its richly characterized sites.
Recent publications by NEON staff
The NEON website now lists relevant professional publications authored by NEON staff. Publications from 2013 include: