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Oak Ridge pegged for national ecological network
Date:6/26/2008

as a variety of mobile instruments. All of the state-of-the-art instruments connected via wireless data communication devices will be standardized and focused on a core set of questions. The instruments will measure carbon dioxide and other gas exchanges between the forest, soil and atmosphere as well as physical, chemical and microbial properties of vegetation, soils and the stream. Some instruments will track specific organism populations. Data will be transmitted electronically to a central processing center and made available to scientists as well as the public.

When complete, this new effort will provide a continental-scale research platform for discovering and understanding the impacts of climate change, land-use change and invasive species on ecology. The National Science Foundation has funded NEON since September 2004. The network is expected to gather ecological data for more than 30 years.

Researchers are already looking forward to new views of ecology that will be created by continental-scale data. Just as meteorologists today can predict the path of a tornado or hurricane, ecologists using NEON data in the future may be able to more accurately forecast biological phenomena such as the spread of avian flu and the West Nile virus or the emergence of an invasive species.

"Being part of the NEON network will attract leading national and international ecologists to Oak Ridge," Mulholland said. "NEON infrastructure will also provide unique educational and research opportunities for students at all levels through website access to NEON results and on-site studies."


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Contact: Ron Walli
wallira@ornl.gov
865-576-0226
DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert

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