In praise of Biological Field Stations

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North America's biological field stations have long been home to a rich legacy of scientific and socially relevant studies, making them rich environments for serendipitous discoveries in the biological and environmental sciences.

Now, a group of researchers affiliated with the Organization of Biological Field Stations (OBFS), the Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Network, and their scientific collaborators, have published a major paper in the April issue of the journal BioScience to argue the case for continued and enhanced support for the Nation's biological field stations.

The scientists - including

  • William Michener (LTER Network Office/University of New Mexico (UNM) Biology Department, Albuquerque, NM)
  • Robert Parmenter (Valles Caldera National Preserve, Jemez Springs, NM/UNM Biology Department)
  • Keith L. Bildstein (Acopian Center for Conservation Science, Orwigsburg, PA)
  • Arthur McKee (Flathead Lake Biological Station, University of Montana, Polson, MT)
  • William W. Hargrove (Eastern Forest Threat Assessment Center, USDA Forest Service, Asheville, NC)
  • Deedra McClearn (Lemont, PA)
  • Mark Stromberg (Hastings Natural History Reserve, UC Berkeley Natural History Museums, Carmel Valley, CA)

 -- note, however, that few people realize the enormous value of the data and specimens held at these field stations until an event such as a disease outbreak or environmental disaster triggers their use.