Creating a digital menagerie

NEON technicians will collect and identify countless insect specimens over the lifetime of the observatory. To put it into perspective, during a short prototype collection at one site over three weeks using 20 traps, we collected close to 400 ground beetles. Now imagine 40 traps collecting insects at 60 sites for several months every year …

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Reflections on remote sensing, ecology and the NEON AOP

A few summers ago, I spent my time in the field hugging trees. While I’ve been called a hippie in the past, this was hardly hippie behavior. This was research. I was an ecology Ph.D. student studying streamside forests and measuring things like the diameter and canopy heights of trees. I trudged through countless miles …

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Macrosystems Biology: How to share, manage and cite big data and team science?

Last month, I participated in the first Principal Investigator meeting of NSF’s new Macrosystems Biology program. The NSF solicits proposals to “support quantitative, interdisciplinary, systems-oriented research on biosphere processes and their complex interactions with climate, land use, and invasive species at regional to continental scales.”
The first groups of projects cover an incredible range of topics, and are embracing a wide range of research approaches. In a pre-meeting survey, projects reported using simulation models, developing new theory, fitting empirical models to multi-scaled data, analyzing paleoecological data and implementing experiments across linked networks ofsites. Almost half the groups reflected the newness of the continental-scale approach by including significant educational activities.…