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Neon - National Ecological Observatory Network
Who: A bunch of ecologists, biologists, and systematics from across North America. NEON is the name of the "company", they are a not for profit organization, and they want a lot of money from America.
NEON will create a new national observatory network to collect ecological and climatic observations across the continental United States, including Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. The observatory will be the first of its kind designed to detect and enable forecasting of ecological change at continental scales over multiple decades. NEON has partitioned the United States into 20 ecoclimatic domains, each of which represents different regions of vegetation, landforms, climate, and ecosystem performance. Data will be collected from strategically selected sites within each domain and synthesized into information products that can be used to describe changes in the nation's ecosystem through space and time.
They plan on monitoring..
Biogeochemistry: The study of how chemical, physical, geological, and biological processes combine to create the natural environment.
Biodiversity: The full range of life forms on earth, or in a particular region.
Climate change: A significant long-term change in the kind of weather we would expect based on averages calculated from climate data.
Ecohydrology: The study of how organisms interact with their environment and with the constant movement of water.
Infectious Diseases: Diseases spread by viruses, parasites, and bacteria that are sometimes transmitted to people by animals, birds, and insects.
Land Use: The many ways that people change the natural landscape and environment, such as by building cities, cutting down forests, or planting crops.
Invasive Species: Plants and organisms that overpopulate a particular place, or species that move into areas they haven’t lived in before.
Continental United States, Alaska, Puerto Rico. Monitoring stations will cover all of the major Landscapes.
The organisers behind NEON are attempting to put the latest tools in Biology and Ecology together to create something so wonderfully dauting and massive that they predict that over a Terabyte of information is going to be created EVERY SECOND. We are talking about massive towers with the latest in Enviornmental monitoring (Acid Rain, temperature, Wind direction, air quality..) combined with Remote Sensing information to attempt to predict
the changes in Biodiversity, Invasive Species, infectious disease spread, etc etc. Basically, there is going to be such a massive data overload that PHd students will be able to spend years analyzing information. They will never have to leave their rooms. Systematics will also be a part of this project. Phenotypic change will be monitored as well, DNA analysis will most likely play a large roll (seeing how we have like 8 taxonomists left across North America).
Hopefully monitoring can begin by 2013, if all the funding gets in.
The scope of this project is massive, only the United States can pull it off. Ecology is a funny subject, there are many rules and theories about how and why Biodiversity and the like change over time, but it varies so much that it is almost impossibel to predict. By combining the latest in technology with a massive scale, NEON hopes to find the correlation where before it was hard if not impossible to do. The scale is staggering. The data overload is inevitable. And I am god damn excited.
TL : DR?
Probably on the scale of half a billion dollars.
Massive scale, never been attempted before.
Montioring the abiotic and biotic changes across the United States.
Technology integration, massive data overload inc.
What does PA think? Is this project worth the funding?