USA NPN National Phenology Network

Taking the Pulse of Our Planet

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Research Coordination Network

This RCN works in close cooperation with the USA National Phenology Network, and has been funded by grant # 0639794 from the National Science Foundation from March 2007 to February 2012. 

Information on the annual Research Coordination Network Meeting

Core Participants (Steering Committee)
Lead PI: Mark D. Schwartz, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Steering Committee Members: P. Stephen Baenziger, University of Nebraska; Julio Betancourt, U.S. Geological Survey/University of Arizona; Mike Dettinger, U.S. Geological Survey/Scripps Institution of Oceanography; David Inouye, University of Maryland; Beverly Law, Oregon State University and AmeriFlux Network; (Co-PI) Susan Mazer, University of California-Santa Barbara; Eric Post, Penn State University; Bradley Reed, U.S. Geological Survey; and Robert Waide, University of New Mexico and LTER Network Office

Intellectual Merit

The USA National Phenology Network (USA-NPN) is an emerging and exciting partnership among academic communities, federal agencies, and volunteers. The USA-NPN consists of four components or tiers, representing different levels of spatial coverage and quality/quantity of phenological and related environmental information: 1) Locally intensive sites focused on process studies; 2) Spatially extensive scientific networks focused on large-scale phenomena; 3) Volunteer and Education Networks; and 4) remote sensing products that can be ground-truthed and assimilated to extend surface phenological observations to the continental-scale.

The Research Coordination Network (RCN) will assist USA-NPN in achieving eight primary research and educational objectives: 1) promote progress and leadership in phenological science; 2) inform and guide NPN design and implementation with sound science; 3) develop and field test protocols for data collection and management by students, citizen-scientists, and scientists; 4) synthesize, prioritize, and integrate research projects that take advantage of NPN data at all levels; 5) identify and address key gaps in theory and data that limit phenological research; 6) inspire new multi-disciplinary experimental designs and models to increase utility and relevance of phenological research; 7) develop new Web resources to increase awareness and access to phenological data; and 8) guide development of new software that integrates multiple data types and is compatible across relevant computer platforms.

The USA-NPN RCN will create four general products: 1) a meta-database of existing phenological data in the USA; 2) a broadly-vetted and tested set of data-collection and -management protocols; 3) lists of target species representative of the Nation’s ecoregions and customized for each of four network tiers; and 4) enhancement of the existing prototype NPN Web page with new software and tools that will facilitate communication among and access to data by the entire research community. Focused workshops will address issues such as the integration of past phenological data collected with differing protocols, and annual meetings will review ongoing progress and promote exchange with international phenological research groups.

Broader Impacts

The USA-NPN is a unique opportunity to increase collaboration between federal agencies and the academic community, to facilitate and recruit public participation in the study and understanding of Nature, and to serve public needs in Agriculture, Commerce, Education, Health, Recreation, and Natural Resources. The USA-NPN RCN will actively support student/early researcher exchange/training programs among participating organizations, as well as participation by students, citizens, and scientists from under-represented communities in all network activities. The USA-NPN is committed to substantial participation from members of the public as citizen-scientist phenological observers. The RCN will enhance this opportunity by developing additional features for the USA-NPN Web page that will promote science education and foster better understanding of complex environmental issues.