The National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) became fully operational across 81 terrestrial and aquatic sites in May 2019, marking a key moment in the history of ecology and an unparalleled investment in continental‐scale ecology. We believe NEON will precipitate the next big shift in the discipline, akin to the launch of long‐term ecological research four decades ago, the rise of ecological synthesis two decades ago, and the leveraging of big data for ecology within the past decade. We urge the current and emergent community to help accelerate this revolution.
Critical to advancing all Earth Lab endeavors is refining our understanding of data resolution effects on observed phenomena and reducing the uncertainty across scales. Project Data Harmonization examines satellite, UAS, and field-based data collected at varying resolutions to develop metrics characterizing the progression of basic spatial and statistical characteristics such as length, area, density, texture (heterogeneity), and spatial/temporal dependence (autocorrelation).
Snow is a fundamental feature of the Rocky Mountains, with ecological implications for a majority of habitats and species. Climate change has the potential to alter this critical resource, with cascading effects on other systems and conservation targets. Expected changes include shifts in precipitation amounts, type, and timing and snow persistence (particularly affected by projections of more frequent rain-on-snow events), reductions in snow-water equivalent (SWE), and shifts in snowline elevation.