Final NEON Observatory Design released

Network News Spring 2009, Vol. 22 No. 1
Network News

In February 2009, a review team appointed by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and led by Dr. Alan P. Covich completed a rigorous assessment of the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON)'s science and education implementation plan, including a formal merit review of the NEON Observatory Design (NOD) document. The review appraised the network and informatics designs against the goals of advancing theory and developing new ecological forecasting capability. The panel concluded that the NOD will meet these challenges and is on course for the NSF Preliminary Design Review (PDR) of NEON in June 2009. The NOD has also been discussed with NEON's internal Science, Technology, and Education Advisory Committee and the LTER steering committee, and draws on input from many scientific colleagues. The PDR will evaluate the scope and baseline budget for the Observatory and is a major step in NSF's Large Facility process.

The peer-reviewed NOD is now available to the ecological research community. To download a copy, visit The NOD defines NEON's top level science and education requirements, the Observatory sampling strategy in space and time, and analyzes how NEON data could enable ecological forecasting in the future. The document includes a complete list of the 20 NEON candidate core sites (showing latitude and longitude) as well as the list of 40 candidate relocatable sites (with site names and science themes). It also shows where NEON proposes to co-locate its instruments with existing LTER research facilities.

NSF and NEON, Inc. look to the LTER community to be early adopters and key users of the NEON facility. NEON, Inc. invites feedback and discussion of the ideas contained in the NOD. Feel free to contact Dave Schimel (NEON Chief Executive Officer) or Michael Keller (NEON Chief of Science) directly.