During the 21st century, human–environment interactions will increasingly expose both systems to risks, but also yield opportunities for improvement as we gain insight into these complex, coupled systems. Human–environment interactions operate over multiple spatial and temporal scales, requiring large data volumes of multi‐resolution information for analysis. Climate change, land‐use change, urbanization, and wildfires, for example, can affect regions differently depending on ecological and socioeconomic structures. The relative scarcity of data on both humans and natural systems at the relevant extent can be prohibitive when pursuing inquiries into these complex relationships. We explore the value of multitemporal, high‐density, and high‐resolution LiDAR, imaging spectroscopy, and digital camera data from the National Ecological Observatory Network’s Airborne Observation Platform (NEON AOP) for Socio‐Environmental Systems (SES) research. In addition to providing an overview of NEON AOP datasets and outlining specific applications for addressing SES questions, we highlight current challenges and provide recommendations for the SES research community to improve and expand its use of this platform for SES research. The coordinated, nationwide AOP remote sensing data, collected annually over the next 30 yr, offer exciting opportunities for cross‐site analyses and comparison, upscaling metrics derived from LiDAR and hyperspectral datasets across larger spatial extents, and addressing questions across diverse scales. Integrating AOP data with other SES datasets will allow researchers to investigate complex systems and provide urgently needed policy recommendations for socio‐environmental challenges. We urge the SES research community to further explore questions and theories in social and economic disciplines that might leverage NEON AOP data.
It is a critical time to reflect on the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) science to date as well as envision what research can be done right now with NEON (and other) data and what training is needed to enable a diverse user community. NEON became fully operational in May 2019 and has pivoted from planning and construction to operation and maintenance. In this overview, the history of and foundational thinking around NEON are discussed. A framework of open science is described with a discussion of how NEON can be situated as part of a larger data constellation—across existing networks and different suites of ecological measurements and sensors. Next, a synthesis of early NEON science, based on >100 existing publications, funded proposal efforts, and emergent science at the very first NEON Science Summit (hosted by Earth Lab at the University of Colorado Boulder in October 2019) is provided. Key questions that the ecology community will address with NEON data in the next 10 yr are outlined, from understanding drivers of biodiversity across spatial and temporal scales to defining complex feedback mechanisms in human–environmental systems. Last, the essential elements needed to engage and support a diverse and inclusive NEON user community are highlighted: training resources and tools that are openly available, funding for broad community engagement initiatives, and a mechanism to share and advertise those opportunities. NEON users require both the skills to work with NEON data and the ecological or environmental science domain knowledge to understand and interpret them. This paper synthesizes early directions in the community’s use of NEON data, and opportunities for the next 10 yr of NEON operations in emergent science themes, open science best practices, education and training, and community building.more » « less
- NSF-PAR ID:
- Author(s) / Creator(s):
- ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; more »
- Publisher / Repository:
- Wiley Blackwell (John Wiley & Sons)
- Date Published:
- Journal Name:
- Medium: X
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
More Like this
null (Ed.)The proposed Biology Integration Institute will bring together two major research institutions in the Upper Midwest—the University of Minnesota (UMN) and University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW)—to investigate the causes and consequences of plant biodiversity across scales in a rapidly changing world —from genes and molecules within cells and tissues to communities, ecosystems, landscapes and the biosphere. The Institute focuses on plant biodiversity, defined broadly to encompass the heterogeneity within life that occurs from the smallest to the largest biological scales. A premise of the Institute is that life is envisioned as occurring at different scales nested within several contrasting conceptions of biological hierarchies, defined by the separate but related fields of physiology, evolutionary biology and ecology. The Institute will emphasize the use of ‘spectral biology’—detection of biological properties based on the interaction of light energy with matter—and process-oriented predictive models to investigate the processes by which biological components at one scale give rise to emergent properties at higher scales. Through an iterative process that harnesses cutting edge technologies to observe a suite of carefully designed empirical systems—including the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) and some of the world’s longest running and state-of-the-art global change experiments—the Institute will advance biological understanding and theory of the causes and consequences of changes in biodiversity and at the interface of plant physiology, ecology and evolution. INTELLECTUAL MERIT The Institute brings together a diverse, gender-balanced and highly productive team with significant leadership experience that spans biological disciplines and career stages and is poised to integrate biology in new ways. Together, the team will harness the potential of spectral biology, experiments, observations and synthetic modeling in a manner never before possible to transform understanding of how variation within and among biological scales drives plant and ecosystem responses to global change over diurnal, seasonal and millennial time scales. In doing so, it will use and advance state-of-the-art theory. The institute team posits that the designed projects will unearth transformative understanding and biological rules at each of the various scales that will enable an unprecedented capacity to discern the linkages between physiological, ecological and evolutionary processes in relation to the multi-dimensional nature of biodiversity in this time of massive planetary change. A strength of the proposed Institute is that it leverages prior federal investments in research and formalizes partnerships with foreign institutions heavily invested in related biodiversity research. Most of the planned projects leverage existing research initiatives, infrastructure, working groups, experiments, training programs, and public outreach infrastructure, all of which are already highly synergistic and collaborative, and will bring together members of the overall research and training team. BROADER IMPACTS A central goal of the proposed Institute is to train the next generation of diverse integrative biologists. Post-doctoral, graduate student and undergraduate trainees, recruited from non-traditional and underrepresented groups, including through formal engagement with Native American communities, will receive a range of mentoring and training opportunities. Annual summer training workshops will be offered at UMN and UW as well as training experiences with the Global Change and Biodiversity Research Priority Program (URPP-GCB) at the University of Zurich (UZH) and through the Canadian Airborne Biodiversity Observatory (CABO). The Institute will engage diverse K-12 audiences, the general public and Native American communities through Market Science modules, Minute Earth videos, a museum exhibit and public engagement and educational activities through the Bell Museum of Natural History, the Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve (CCESR) and the Wisconsin Tribal Conservation Association.more » « less
Abstract SkyPortalis an open-source software package designed to discover interesting transients efficiently, manage follow-up, perform characterization, and visualize the results. By enabling fast access to archival and catalog data, crossmatching heterogeneous data streams, and the triggering and monitoring of on-demand observations for further characterization, a SkyPortal-based platform has been operating at scale for >2 yr for the Zwicky Transient Facility Phase II community, with hundreds of users, containing tens of millions of time-domain sources, interacting with dozens of telescopes, and enabling community reporting. While SkyPortalemphasizes rich user experiences across common front-end workflows, recognizing that scientific inquiry is increasingly performed programmatically, SkyPortalalso surfaces an extensive and well-documented application programming interface system. From back-end and front-end software to data science analysis tools and visualization frameworks, the SkyPortaldesign emphasizes the reuse and leveraging of best-in-class approaches, with a strong extensibility ethos. For instance, SkyPortalnow leverages ChatGPT large language models to generate and surface source-level human-readable summaries automatically. With the imminent restart of the next generation of gravitational-wave detectors, SkyPortalnow also includes dedicated multimessenger features addressing the requirements of rapid multimessenger follow-up: multitelescope management, team/group organizing interfaces, and crossmatching of multimessenger data streams with time-domain optical surveys, with interfaces sufficiently intuitive for newcomers to the field. This paper focuses on the detailed implementations, capabilities, and early science results that establish SkyPortalas a community software package ready to take on the data science challenges and opportunities presented by this next chapter in the multimessenger era.
A core goal of the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) is to measure changes in biodiversity across the 30‐yr horizon of the network. In contrast to NEON’s extensive use of automated instruments to collect environmental data, NEON’s biodiversity surveys are almost entirely conducted using traditional human‐centric field methods. We believe that the combination of instrumentation for remote data collection and machine learning models to process such data represents an important opportunity for NEON to expand the scope, scale, and usability of its biodiversity data collection while potentially reducing long‐term costs. In this manuscript, we first review the current status of instrument‐based biodiversity surveys within the NEON project and previous research at the intersection of biodiversity, instrumentation, and machine learning at NEON sites. We then survey methods that have been developed at other locations but could potentially be employed at NEON sites in future. Finally, we expand on these ideas in five case studies that we believe suggest particularly fruitful future paths for automated biodiversity measurement at NEON sites: acoustic recorders for sound‐producing taxa, camera traps for medium and large mammals, hydroacoustic and remote imagery for aquatic diversity, expanded remote and ground‐based measurements for plant biodiversity, and laboratory‐based imaging for physical specimens and samples in the NEON biorepository. Through its data science‐literate staff and user community, NEON has a unique role to play in supporting the growth of such automated biodiversity survey methods, as well as demonstrating their ability to help answer key ecological questions that cannot be answered at the more limited spatiotemporal scales of human‐driven surveys.
As we look to the future of natural history collections and a global integration of biodiversity data, we are reliant on a diverse workforce with the skills necessary to build, grow, and support the data, tools, and resources of the Digital Extended Specimen (DES; Webster 2019, Lendemer et al. 2020, Hardisty 2020). Future “DES Data Curators” – those who will be charged with maintaining resources created through the DES – will require skills and resources beyond what is currently available to most natural history collections staff. In training the workforce to support the DES we have an opportunity to broaden our community and ensure that, through the expansion of biodiversity data, the workforce landscape itself is diverse, equitable, inclusive, and accessible. A fully-implemented DES will provide training that encapsulates capacity building, skills development, unifying protocols and best practices guidance, and cutting-edge technology that also creates inclusive, equitable, and accessible systems, workflows, and communities. As members of the biodiversity community and the current workforce, we can leverage our knowledge and skills to develop innovative training models that: include a range of educational settings and modalities; address the needs of new communities not currently engaged with digital data; from their onset, provide attribution for past and future work and do not perpetuate the legacy of colonial practices and historic inequalities found in many physical natural history collections. Recent reports from the Biodiversity Collections Network (BCoN 2019) and the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine (National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine 2020) specifically address workforce needs in support of the DES. To address workforce training and inclusivity within the context of global data integration, the Alliance for Biodiversity Knowledge included a topic on Workforce capacity development and inclusivity in Phase 2 of the consultation on Converging Digital Specimens and Extended Specimens - Towards a global specification for data integration. Across these efforts, several common themes have emerged relative to workforce training and the DES. A call for a community needs assessment: As a community, we have several unknowns related to the current collections workforce and training needs. We would benefit from a baseline assessment of collections professionals to define current job responsibilities, demographics, education and training, incentives, compensation, and benefits. This includes an evaluation of current employment prospects and opportunities. Defined skills and training for the 21st century collections professional: We need to be proactive and define the 21st century workforce skills necessary to support the development and implementation of the DES. When we define the skills and content needs we can create appropriate training opportunities that include scalable materials for capacity building, educational materials that develop relevant skills, unifying protocols across the DES network, and best practices guidance for professionals. Training for data end-users: We need to train data end-users in biodiversity and data science at all levels of formal and informal education from primary and secondary education through the existing workforce. This includes developing training and educational materials, creating data portals, and building analyses that are inclusive, accessible, and engage the appropriate community of science educators, data scientists, and biodiversity researchers. Foster a diverse, equitable, inclusive, and accessible and professional workforce: As the DES develops and new tools and resources emerge, we need to be intentional in our commitment to building tools that are accessible and in assuring that access is equitable. This includes establishing best practices to ensure the community providing and accessing data is inclusive and representative of the diverse global community of potential data providers and users. Upfront, we must acknowledge and address issues of historic inequalities and colonial practices and provide appropriate attribution for past and future work while ensuring legal and regulatory compliance. Efforts must include creating transparent linkages among data and the humans that create the data that drives the DES. In this presentation, we will highlight recommendations for building workforce capacity within the DES that are diverse, inclusive, equitable and accessible, take into account the requirements of the biodiversity science community, and that are flexible to meet the needs of an evolving field.more » « less