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News Release 18-068

NSF funds new projects to ‘connect dots’ (and data) to address longstanding, multi-scaled environmental problems

Access to abundant ecological data allows MacroSystems Biology and Early NEON Science projects to better understand ecological issues, from local to continental scales

Streams of the Smoky Mountains

Six universities will collaborate to explore the dynamics of intermittent streams, like this one in the Smoky Mountains, which make up 59 percent of all the stream length in the United States. The ecological significance of intermittent streams, which are controlled by large-scale climate fluctuations and colonized by aquatic life under wet conditions, will likely grow as the global environment changes and human demand for water increases. This team will engage citizen scientists with a smartphone app to help document flowing vs. dry periods, measure flows with multiple inexpensive remote sensors, and study affected food webs.

Credit: Meryl Mims, Virginia Tech


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Fires in Kruger National Park, South Africa, August 2010.

Kruger National Park in South Africa is one of the field sites for work supported by the MacroSystems Biology award to Carla Staver from Yale University. The project will use observational and experimental approaches to study fire extinction in three regions around the world and incorporate these data into fire-spread models and ultimately into macro-scale Earth system models.

Credit: Carla Staver, Yale University


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Hillside at Imnavait Creek, North Slope, Alaska

Scientists working on MacroSystem Biology’s TundraPEAT project will study the dynamics and formation processes of initial peat-forming ecosystems across the Arctic and their carbon-cycle implications, including this Arctic tundra dominated by tussock cotton-grass with reddish peat moss (Sphagnum rubellum) patches on a hillside at Imnavait Creek (Toolik LTER) on North Slope, Alaska.

Credit: Zicheng Yu, Lehigh University.


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