Phenology is a salient, integrative indicator of species responses to climate with ramifications for food security, human health, biodiversity, and species invasions. Phenology monitoring is straight-forward, easily implemented, and can serve as an effective means of communicating science with a wide public audience. A consistent sampling methodology that accommodates flexibility in design while maintaining linkages to the legacy data that are a hallmark of the LTER network would serve as a tremendously valuable tool to (1) link applications across research networks (i.e., LTAR and NEON) and existing federated data repositories (e.g., the National Phenology Database managed by the USA National Phenology Network) and (2) position LTER scientists to address continental-scale questions about climate change. In this workshop, we wish to engage the LTER science community to expand and refine a multi-level strategy to implement phenology monitoring across the LTER network. We anticipate addressing logistical considerations such as legacy datasets and sampling design logistics and build upon experience gained from Jornada (JRN) and Harvard Forest (HFR) LTER sites, implementing USA National Phenology Network (USA-NPN) protocols, and using new technology such as “phenocams” (e.g., http://phenocam.sr.unh.edu).
The workshop will begin with brief presentations by the organizers to set the stage for the discussion and share information collected from a LTER network-wide survey distributed prior to the ASM meeting that describes current phenology studies within the LTER. The first of three presentations will present three paths for standardized measures or metrics: 1) phenocams (e.g., the PhenoCam Network), 2) field monitoring via Nature’s Notebook and USA-NPN, and 3) a form of the hybrid model being implemented by the LTAR and NEON networks and highlight insights and challenges from the analysis of the long-term phenology dataset at the JRN. The second and third presentations will describe tools, infrastructure, and training and visualization capabilities the National Phenology Network and PhenoCam network can provide to help establish, maintain, or plan phenology studies in addition to showcasing examples of research applications made possible with standardized data products.
The second half of the workshop will involve group discussion of questions, concerns, and perceived impediments to implementing phenology studies using common methodologies. The anticipated product from this workshop will be a working document outlining proposed solutions to challenges and considerations for implementing a phenology monitoring study using NPN standardized protocols, infrastructure and training support tools provided by USA-NPN and PhenoCam, and a proposed timeline for initiating studies that include standardized phenology monitoring at sites across the LTER.