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( ~1 ADDRESSING THE NATION S ENVIRONMENTAL CHALLENGES COMMITTEE ON THE NATIONAL ECOLOGICAL OBSERVATORY NETWORK BOARD ON Ll F E SC I E NC ES DIVISION ON EARTH AND LIFE STUDIES NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS Washington, D.C. www.nap.edu

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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fit Sweet, NW Washington, DC 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. DBI-0332063 (Master Agreement No. 029565~. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. International Standard Book Number 0-309-09078-4 (Book) International Standard Book Number 0-309-05273-8 (PDF) Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, NW, Lockbox 285, Washington, DC 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334- 3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, http://www.nap.edu. Copyright 2004 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America.

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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES Advisers to the Nation on Stience, Engineering, and Medicine The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority ofthe charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The NationalAcademy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Wm. A. Wulf is president of the National Academv of Engineering. , ~ ~ The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. Wm. A. Wulf are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. www.national-academies.org

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Committee on the National Ecological Observatory Network G. DAVID TILMAN (Chair), University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minnesota JOHN D. ABER, University of New Hampshire, Durham, New Hampshire JOY M. BERGELSON, University of Chicago, Illinois CAROL J. FlALKOWSKI, The Fielct Museum of Natural History, Chicago, Illinois DOROTHY M. GIBB, Horne Engineering Services, Inc., Fairfax, Virginia JOHN F. HEIDELBERG, The Institute for Genomic Research, Rockville, Maryland GRETCHEN E. HOFMANN, University of California, Santa Barbara, California PETER J. HUDSON, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania ROBERT J. HUGGETT, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan DENNIS P. LETTENMAlER, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington BORE} S. LOW, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan STEPHEN R. PALUMBI, Stanford University, Pacific Grove, California CAMILLE PARMESAN, University of Texas, Austin, Texas HERMAN H. SHUGART, JR., University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia Staff EVONNE TANG, Study Director FRANCES SHARPLES, Director, Board on Life Sciences BRIDGET AVILA, Senior Project Assistant LYNN CARLETON, Research Intern BRENDAN BRADLEY, Research Intern NORMAN GROSSBLATT, Senior Editor 1V

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COMMITTEE ON THE NATIONAL ECOLOGICAL OBSERVATORY NETWORK G. DAVID TILMAN (ChairJ, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minnesota JOHN D. ABER, University of New Hampshire, Durham, New Hampshire JOYM. BERGEL`SON, University of Chicago, Illinois CAROL I. FIALKOWSKI, The Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, Illinois DOROTHYM. GIBB, Horne Engineering Services, Inc., Fairfax, Virginia JOHN F. HEIDELBERG, The Institute for Genomic Research, RockviDe, Maryland GRETCHEN E. HOFMANN, University of California, Santa Barbara, California PETER I. HUDSON, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania ROBERT J. HUGGETT, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan DENNIS P. LETTENMAIER, University of Washington, Seattle. Washington BOBBI S. LOW, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan STEPHEN R. PALUMBI, Stanford University, Pacific Grove, California CAMILLE PARMESAN, University of Texas, Austin, Texas HERMAN H. SHUGART, JR., University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia Staff EVONNE TANG, Study Director FRANCES SHARPLES, Director, Board on Life Sciences BRIDGET AVILA, Senior Project Assistant LYNN CARLETON, Research Intern BRENDAN BRADLEY, Research Intern NORMAN GROSSBLATT, Senior Editor v

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BOARD ON LIFE SCIENCES COREYS. GOODMAN, (Chair), Renovis, Inc., South San Francisco, California R. ALTA CHARD, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin JOANNE CHORY, The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La JoDa, California JEFFREY L. DANGE, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hid, North Carolina PAUL R. EHRLICH, Stanford University, Stanford, California DAVID I. GALAS, Keck Graduate Institute of Applied Life Science, Claremont, California BARBARA GASTEL, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas JAMES M. GENTILE, Hope College, Holland, Michigan LINDA GREER, Natural Resources Defense Council, Washington, DC ED HARLOW, Harvard Medical School, Cambridge, Massachusetts KENNETH F. KEL`L`ER, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota GREGORYA. PETSKO, Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts STUART L. PIMM, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina JOAN B. ROSE, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan GERALD M. RUBIN, Howard Hughes Biomedical Research, Chevy Chase, Maryland BARBARA A. SCHAAL, Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri RAYMOND L. WHITE, University of California, San Francisco, California Senior Staff FRANCES SHARPL`ES Vl

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Preface The most complex systems that scientists have ever studied are biological, and of ad biological systems perhaps none are more complex than natural and managed communities and eco- systems. A lake, forest, grassland, or marine habitat is likely to contain hundreds or even thousands of species of microscopic and macroscopic plants and animals and thousands of species of microorganisms, all interacting with each other in a physi- caDy and chemically complex and changing environment. During the last 3 decades, the scientific discipline of ecology has made large strides in understanding the fundamental processes that structure natural and managed communities and ecosystems. Those advances have come from the rigorous interplay of increasingly sophisticated experimentation, Tong- term observation, and mathematical (and increasingly mechanistic) theory. Such scientific advances are coming none too soon; the last 3 decades have also been a period of accelerating and . . . unprecedented human impacts on the species and ecosystems . . V11

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Preface of the globe. Indeed, the consensus among environmental scientists is that humans have now dominated all natural processes combined as the major controllers of many of the regional, continental, and global forces and factors that determine ecological phenomena, from species abun- dances to the flow of goods and services of economic value to society. However, because current ecological knowledge is based on studies of single sites and small subsets of the biodiversity of a site, it is unclear how applicable current results are to other regions and to other types of ecosystems. Major and fundamental scientific advances are needed if we are to have the requisite depth of knowledge for society to deal wisely with the environment. Those concerns, which have been raised repeatedly in the discipline for the last decade, led the National Science Foundation (NSF) to propose the establishment of a National Ecological Observatory Net- work, or NEON. Building on the results of six workshops, NSF sum- marized the goal of NEON this way: "Collectively, the network of observatories wiD allow comprehensive, continental-scale experiments on ecological systems and wiD represent a virtual laboratory for research to obtain a predictive understanding of the environment." At the request of NSF, the National Research Council established an ad hoc committee to review and evaluate which major ecological and environmental issues and national concerns could be addressed only on a regional or continental scale, whether the current conceptualization of NEON was optimal to address them, and the impacts that NEON would have on science and society. Our committee was asked to prepare its report rapidly as a 'fast track' report. ~ thank the committee members for their incredible willingness to put aside other important tasks as we spent our summer reading, holding two-day meetings, and reaching consensus, and then . . . . . . writing, discussing, and rewriting our report. Throughout our deliberations, we kept our eyes on the big picture- on the major environmental challenges that the nation faces and on the most efficient and effective ways to obtain the scientific knowledge required to understand them and to deal with them wisely. We had neither the time nor the desire nor a charge to deal with ad the assorted .. . vial

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Preface smaller details that wiD form an important part of NEON. Although we began with little knowledge of or personal participation in the earlier planning process for NEON, we grew to have a strong and unanimous support for the critical role that a NEON-like program could play both in the development of the discipline of ecology and in contributing to scientifically based environmental policy for the nation. Our environ- mental problems are regional to continental to global in scale. It is essential that our science be so, also. G. David Tilman Chair, Committee on the National Ecological Observatory Network IX

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Although the reviewers listed above have provided constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Dr. May Berenbaum of the University of Illinois, and Dr. Frank Stillinger of Princeton University. Appointed by the National Research Council, they were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully consiclerect. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the author committee and the institution. x

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Acknowledgments This report has been reviewed in draft form by persons chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise in accor- dance with procedures approved by the National Research Council's Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institu- tional standards of objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Dennis Baldocchi, University of California, Berkeley Roger C. Bales, University of California, Merced David Brakke, James Madison University Joel Brown, University of Illinois, Chicago Peter Daszak, University of Georgia Xl

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Ackr~owledgmer~ts Michael Freeling, University of California, Berkeley Inez Y. Fung, University of California, Berkeley Robert Harriss, National Center for Atmospheric Research Anthony Janetos, H. John Heinz TIT Center for Science, Economics and the Environment Simon A. Levin, Princeton University Jerry Mahiman, National Center for Atmospheric Research Thomas C. Malone, University of Maryland Shahid Nacem, Columbia University Michael D. Purugganan, North Carolina State University Although the reviewers listed above have provided constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclu- sions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Dr. May Berenbaum of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Dr. Frank Stillinger of Princeton University. Appointed by the National Research Council, they were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the author committee and the institution. .. xll

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Confenfs EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 1 THE NATIONAL ECOLOGICAL OBSERVATORY NETWORK The National Ecological Observatory Network as Envisioned by the National Science Foundation, 16 Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction Account, 19 Process and Purpose of This Study, 21 2 ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES OF NATIONAL IMPORTANCE AND THE ROLE OF THE NATIONAL ECOLOGICAL OBSERVATORY NETWORK Biodiversity, Species Composition, and Ecosystem Functioning, 28 Ecological Aspects of Biogeochemical Cycles, 31 Ecological Implications of Climate Change, 34 Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Diseases, 35 1 15 23 ... xlll

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Contents Invasive Species, 39 Land Use and Habitat Alteration, 41 Six Large-Scale Environmental Challenges, 43 Environmental Education and Outreach as National Needs, 43 CONCEPT AND IMPLEMENTATION OF THE NATIONAL ECOLOGICAL OBSERVATORY NETWORK Proposed Concept and Implementation of NEON, 47 Examples of NEON Observatories and their Integration, 54 Integration of NEON Observatories, 63 4 EFFECT OF THE NATIONAL ECOLOGICAL OBSERVATORY NETWORK ON THE SCIENTIFIC COMMUNITY, EDUCATION, AND PUBLIC OUTREACH The Scientific Community, 67 Education, 70 Public Outreach and Involvement, 75 A SYNTHESIS OF EARLY CONCEPTS OF THE NATIONAL ECOLOGICAL OBSERVATORY NETWORK AND A NEW VISION 6 FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS REFERENCES APPENDIXES A COMMITTEE ON THE NATIONAL ECOLOGICAL OBSERVATORY NETWORK BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES 47 67 77 87 93 97 xlv

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Contents B NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL WORKSHOP ON THE NATIONAL ECOLOGICAL OBSERVATORY NETWORK AGENDA C FEDERAL AGENCIES AND PROFESSIONAL SOCIETIES THAT VOICED THEIR SUPPORT FOR THE NATIONAL ECOLOGICAL OBSERVATORY NETWORK THROUGH THE NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL WORKSHOP AND WEB FORUM 105 107 XV

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