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NEON Distributed Sensor Networks
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NEON Distributed Sensor Networks

July 19, 2010
An artist's conception of the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) depicting its distributed sensor networks, experiments and aerial and satellite remote sensing capabilities, all linked via cyberinfrastructure into a single "scalable" integrated research platform for conducting continental-scale ecological research. NEON is one of several National Science Foundation (NSF) Earth-observing systems.

The NEON observatory includes 20 eco-climatic domains that cover the contiguous 48 states, Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. Each domain represents a distinct region of vegetation, landforms, climate and ecosystem performance. Domain boundaries were determined using a statistical clustering algorithm and data developed by William Hargrove and Forrest Hoffman of Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

The data NEON collects and provides will focus on how land use change, climate change and invasive species affect the structure and function of our ecosystems. Obtaining this kind of data over a long-term period is crucial to improving ecological forecast models. The observatory will enable a virtual network of researchers and environmental managers to collaborate, coordinate research and address ecological challenges at regional, national and continental scales by providing comparable information across sites and regions.

NEON is being planned and built by NEON Inc., a nonprofit corporation. Funding for NEON comes from the National Science Foundation's Emerging Frontiers Division in the Biological Sciences Directorate. To learn more, visit the NEON Web site. (Date of Image: 2009)