NEON on the Horizon

National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) is the continental-scale ecological observation facility sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and operated by the Battelle Memorial Institute. The observatory collects and provides open data from 81 sites in 20 ecological domains that characterize and quantify complex, rapidly changing ecological processes across the United States. An update on NEON was provided at the recent National Science Board (NSB) meeting, during which, Dr. Joanne Tornow, the Acting Assistant Director of the Directorate for Biological Sciences (BIO), noted that construction is about 95% complete and NEON is transitioning into the full operations phase.

The Division of Biological Infrastructure (DBI) recently hosted NEON Day, which consisted of a day-long discussion with Battelle representatives that highlighted readiness, capacity, and scope of the observatory. NEON Day provided an opportunity for the NSF Program Officers (POs) and federal partners to become more aware of how researchers can benefit from NEON by using its data and infrastructure. Representatives from Battelle also reported on the resources and data products, such as the NEON Application Programming Interface (API), that can be used by researchers. The NEON Day event provided a quality overview of NEON, the project’s transition from construction to operations, and data available for use across BIO and other NSF Directorates to further ecological and environmental science research.

Additionally, NSF is actively thinking about more ways to provide opportunities and engage the research and education community to utilize NEON resources. The topic was highlighted at NEON Day during which Battelle representatives discussed the various educational resources and opportunities – seasonal fieldwork, online tutorials, teaching modules, workshops, and research internships – that NEON provides to the ecological community.

For more information on NEON or to access the data portal, visit the website.

To inquire about using NEON data in proposals for programs across BIO and throughout NSF, contact a PO.