The National Ecological Observatory Network is a continental-scale ecological observation facility, sponsored by the National Science Foundation and operated by Battelle. NEON collects and provides open data that characterize and quantify complex, rapidly changing ecological processes across the United States. The comprehensive data, spatial extent and remote sensing technology provided by NEON will enable a large and diverse user community to tackle new questions at scales not accessible to previous generations of ecologists.
The NEON observatory is designed to collect high-quality, standardized data from 81 field sites (47 terrestrial and 34 aquatic)
across the United States (including Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico). Data collection methods are standardized across sites and include in situ instrument measurements, field sampling and airborne remote sensing
. Field sites are strategically selected
to represent different regions of vegetation, landforms, climate, and ecosystem performance. NEON data and resources are freely available to enable users to tackle scientific questions at scales not accessible to previous generations of ecologists.
NEON provides large amounts of freely available resources, primarily:
Continental-scale environmental data
Infrastructure for research
NEON’s open-access approach to its data and information products will enable scientists, educators, planners, decision makers and the public to map, understand and predict the effects of human activities on ecology and effectively address critical ecological questions and issues.
Current Status of the NEON Project
NEON successfully completed the planning and design phases and entered the construction phase in Spring 2012. Construction of the final few field sites for NEON is underway and the observatory has entered initial operations. NEON is expected to enter full operations by the end 2018 and collect data for 30 years.
NEON is part of a bold effort to:
Understand and forecast continental-scale environmental change
Inform natural resource decisions
Engage the next generation of scientists