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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

KU, K-State field stations key sites in 30-year NSF project

The University of Kansas and Kansas State University will soon be active participants in the National Ecological Observatory Network, or NEON, one of the most extensive long-term initiatives in the history of the National Science Foundation (NSF). The NSF NEON project establishes sustainable efforts for gathering data related to the causes and consequences of climate change.

This has been a long-time goal of the Kansas NSF EPSCoR major initiative Forecasting Ecological Change in the Central Plains (2006 to 2010). This project led by Dr. Leonard Krishtalka (KU) and Walter Dodds (K-State). The objective was to mature the state’s niche strength in ecological forecasting into a competitive, centers-level capability.

More than 40 scientists and engineers and 70 students representing more than a dozen disciplines conducted research using the Kansas grasslands as the model ecosystem to assess the ecological and societal impacts of global change on coupled human-natural systems. One of the grand challenges of the 21st century as articulated by the National Research Council, the International Program on Climate Change, the National Science Foundation and other national agencies is evaluating and predicting the biological and ecological consequences of accelerating global changes in the environment and human society.

The NSF NEON Sites across the U.S.
Forecasting Ecological Change in the Central Plains was conceptualized and operated as a regional-scale model of the national NEON effort now being realized. In Kansas, it improved and incorporated sensing technologies, informatics, telecommunications, cyberinfrastructure, and large-scale modeling to enable acquisition and analysis of data, and forecasting of environmental phenomena.

As part of the future NEON initiative, two biological stations out of the 106 domains identified in the 30 year NSF funded endeavor are located in Kansas: The University of Kansas Field Station located at KU; and The Konza Prairie Biological Station located at K-State. Together, the Kansas sites are known as the Prairie Peninsula domain and form the only multi-state eco-climatic region designated in the project.

For more information on this story please visit: http://goo.gl/dcJ6Pu

For more information on NSF NEON please visit: http://www.neoninc.org/