National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON)
The National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) is a continental scale research instrument consisting of geographically distributed infrastructure, networked via cybertechnology into an integrated research platform for regional to continental scale ecological research. Cutting-edge sensor networks, instrumentation, experimental infrastructure, natural history archive facilities, and remote sensing will be linked via the internet to computational, analytical, and modeling capabilities to create NEON's integrated infrastructure.
NEON will transform ecological research by enabling studies on major environmental challenges at regional to continental scales. NEON will enable research on the impacts of climate and land use change, water use, and invasive species on the Nation's living ecosystems at temporal and spatial scales that are relevant to human well-being. NEON will be the first research platform and the only national experimental facility specifically designed to enable basic research in these areas. Scientists and engineers will use NEON to conduct real-time ecological studies spanning all levels of biological organization and temporal and geographical scales. NSF disciplinary and multi-disciplinary programs will support NEON research projects and educational activities. Data from standard measurements made using NEON will be publicly available.
Principal Scientific Goals
NEON will provide nationally networked research, communication, and informatics infrastructure for collaborative, comprehensive and interdisciplinary measurements and experiments on regional to continental scale biology. NEON will provide infrastructure to enable hypothesis-driven basic biological and ecological research, with data and high-level data products available in close to real-time. NEON's synthesis, computation, and visualization infrastructure will create a virtual laboratory that will permit the development of a predictive understanding of the direct effects and feedbacks between environmental change and biological processes.
Principal Education Goals
NEON will be a platform for experiential learning and biosphere literacy. NEON will create innovative learning environments and pathways for students and foster integration of research and education through institutional and multi-institutional networking, partnerships, alliances, and collaborations. NEON's research and communication infrastructure will enable public dialog, education of policy and management decision makers, and the development of workforce skills and life-long career opportunities. NEON will forge new disciplinary alliances and push interdisciplinary scientific, information, and technological frontiers, and thus will create education and training opportunities leading to new career paths.
The project has been very successful and the NEON Imaging Spectrometer was delivered in December 2011. It will be integrated with the waveform LIDAR, high precision camera, and GPS in Spring 2012. Early calibration flights will commence in 2012.
Support is provided through the BIO Directorate Emerging Frontiers Program for final NEON Project planning and risk retirement. The funds are used to retire risk, complete detailed construction-ready design documents, and scale up final project activities, including: establishment of the NEON Calibration/Validation Laboratory for sensors and instrumentation; advanced design for the first six NEON domains and all NEON core sites; and biological assessment and permitting for the first six domains.
The projected length of the project is five years, covering six fiscal years, with a six-month schedule contingency. The risk-adjusted cost of $433.72 million includes a contingency budget of 19 percent.
On August 1, 2011, NEON, Inc. received $9.57 million in MREFC funds to initiate construction. These funds will: support hardware and software development for cyberinfrastructure, complete tower boom assemblies for production, support the engineering technical facility, support for project management and engineering, and provide for contracts and procurements for some long-lead instruments, communications, civil infrastructure, and field equipment.
In FY 2012, $60.30 million is provided for construction. These funds will support: civil and facilities construction; instrument procurement and calibration, with deployment; biological site characterization; and beginning aquatic site characterization. Seven sites will be constructed including Harvard Forest, MA, Ordway-Swisher, FL, and Central Plains Experimental Range, CO. Construction activities include production engineering and ongoing equipment procurement for the associated calibration/validation and instrument integration laboratories; support for the Data Center infrastructure and initiation of the data products application implementation; and construction begins on the NEON Airborne Observatory, including spectrometer and Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) procurements
In FY 2013, $91.0 million from the MREFC account is requested for construction. These funds will support:
- Continuation of civil and facility construction and instrumentation deployment in the next fifteen sites in the construction schedule;Commissioning of the seven sites constructed in FY 2012;
- Biological sampling and analysis activities will commence in all constructed and accepted Observatory sites;
- Stream Experimental and Observatory Network (STREON) site construction will begin and pre-manipulation sensing and measurements will begin;
- Continuation of the NEON cyberinfrastructure hardware and software development and implementation, and Level I-III ecological data products, a key cyberinfrastructure deliverable, will be made available to the research community;
- The first NEON Airborne Observatory platform is expected to be completed, fully instrumented, and flight-tested. This is in preparation for delivery to Observatory operations in FY 2014.
Operations and Maintenance
A NSF Operations review, covering the operating plan and associated budget, was successfully completed in January 2012. In FY 2013, $30.39 million from the R&RA account is requested for management and operations funding to commence for the seven sites commissioned, including related management and technical support, seasonal biological sampling, and domain facilities costs. Funds will also support headquarters functions, including the Airborne Observatory and Calibration & Validation Laboratories.
NSF Contact Information
Dr. Elizabeth Blood, Program Director, BIO OAD, 703-292-8400, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Montona Futrell-Griggs, Project Manager, BIO OAD, 703-292-8400, email@example.com.
Related Web Sites
NEON Home Page - http://www.neoninc.org/
Research Coordination Networks (RCN)
Archival NEON Environmental Assessment Information
NEON Science Strategy: Enabling Continental Scale Ecological Forecasting
Archived Webcast of NEON Prospective PI Meeting
Press Release 11-157 NSF Awards Construction Funding to National Ecological Observatory Network
THIS PROGRAM IS PART OF
Current Activities: no longer receiving proposals - EF