NEON Eco-climatic Domains Image 3
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NEON Eco-climatic Domains (Image 3)

November 10, 2011
A low-gradient stream and surrounding wetlands at the University of Notre Dame Environmental Research Center/Trout Lake Biological Station (UNDERC/TLS), a NEON (National Ecological Observatory Network) research site. Though it is difficult to gauge, flows in streams like this may transport considerable quantities of organic and inorganic carbon. NEON is a large-facility project that collects data from across the U.S. on the impact of climate change, land-use change and invasive species on natural resources and biodiversity. NEON is a project of the National Science Foundation (NSF), with many other U.S. agencies and non-government organizations cooperating. NEON has partitioned the U.S. into 20 eco-climatic domains, with each representing different regions of vegetation, landforms, climate and ecosystem performance. Each domain contains one core site representing unmanaged wild-land conditions within it and two re-locatable sites, to collect data that focuses on human land-management effects on ecosystems. Taken together, the core sites act as a baseline for ecological conditions that can be compared to one another or to the conditions at the re-locatable sites. These comparisons at both the domain and national levels will provide critical information that can be used to test ecological models and identify the impact of land-use change and invasive species on the ecology. UNDERC/TLS is the candidate core site for NEON's Great Lakes Domain. The site's research history dates back to the 1920s and includes being a National Science Foundation (NSF)-supported Long-Term Ecological Research and AmeriFlux site. Research in the Great Lakes Domain focuses on forests and is part of a national strategy to increase our understanding of how forest management practices impact ecological processes.

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