The LTER Network Communications Office checked back in with workshop leaders approximately six weeks after the LTER All Scientists’ Meeting to learn the outcomes of workshops and whether additional activities were forming up. below are the results received as of February 1, 2019.

Expand the panels that interest you to read more about the outcomes of each workshop, any next steps, and contact information for the lead organizer.

Our workshop on Ecological Connectivity went well – we had a very full room for presentations on the first day and a great discussion on the second day. As of right now, nothing concrete has come of this workshop, but we are still interested in pursuing a synthesis paper across the network related to connectivity. Right now I am focusing on our upcoming Antarctic field season, but in the spring I may reach out if we need help setting up a mailing list or reaching out to other collaborators.

Contact Ruth Heindel at Ruth.Heindel@colorado.edu

The workshop started with a presentation of ecological stoichiometry in different environments. The presenters were Dr Walter Dodds (KNZ), Dr Becky Ball (MCM & CAP), Dr John Kominoski (FCE) and Dr Adam Wymore (LUQ) which really laid the ground work for the discussion part of the workshop. During the discussion section, it became evident that understanding ecological stoichiometry using long term data is really in its infancy. As a result of this early start several questions were formulated mostly focusing on how to interpret the perceived variability in long-term data and at what time-scales are relevant. Finally, the concept of ecological stoichiometry is a multi-layered especially with respected to time as ecosystems shift and respond to changes.

It is my intention to keep moving forward (slowly) on integrating our understanding of ecological stoichiometry in the context of long-term data and ecological change. For the workshop we put together a github page to house and catalogue information pre- and post- workshop (https://github.com/SwampThingPaul/LTER_EcoStoich). In my proposal for Woodstoich 4 (https://woodstoich.org/) I carved out a very small subsection of this work looking at what long-term variability in stoichiometry can tell us in stream and wetland ecosystems. It is my hope that as time progresses we will be able to address some of the questions raised during the workshop and maybe even bring to light additional questions and we learn more.

Contact: Paul Julian, pjulian@ufl.edu

10:35-11:15 Panel Discussion: Insights from a 2018 Pilot Cross-site REU Project included: Sydne Record, Bryn Mawr College & HFR (mentor), Phoebe Zarnetske, Michigan State University & KBS (mentor), Ben Baiser, University of Florida (mentor), Cameo Chilcutt, Northern Illinois University (REU), Kyra Hoerr, Bryn Mawr College (REU), Audrey Barker Plotkin (moderator)

A combination of in-person (Cameo, Sydne) and virtual (Kyra, Phoebe, Ben) panelists demonstrated the virtual collaboration.

All participants (students and mentors) found the cross-site format worthwhile. The format brought additional logistical work, but also added benefits to a traditional one-site project:

  • The mentors have an existing grant together, and the summer allowed development of a related project that can provide material for a new Macrosystems proposal.
  • The students connected what they were learning and doing over large scales
  • The students gained communication skills (e.g. collaborating virtually; organizing effective meetings)
  • The students shared learning (e.g. R skills) together

11:15-11:50 Round Table Discussions

Mentor Table. Facilitators: Audrey Barker Plotkin, Sydne Record

  • There were insufficient mentors at the workshop to forge specific cross-site projects.
  • The group included graduate student mentors, and we discussed the value of graduate students as full-fledged mentors. A cross-site format is an attractive model in which to practice mentoring skills in a group with varying levels of mentoring experience, and/or as a way to continue collaborations forged in graduate school as early-career scientists move forward in their careers.
  • Logistical challenges include issues at remote field sites (e.g. Luquillo field station doesn’t have reliable internet). Perhaps a lower bar to success at sites that are more proximal to one another, in which cross-site visits could be within driving distance?
  • Shared seminars among sites could be relatively straightforward to organize, and valuable to help build student awareness of LTER as a network.
  • Student Table. (Facilitators: Clarisse Hart, Alan Berkowitz)

    Ideas from the students for networking opportunities:

  • R data workshop
  • Journal club
  • Seminars
  • Graduate school/career panels, and resume advice
  • Tours of research sites
  • Field trips outside the site

Other thoughts:

There is high variability in the level of support provided by mentors. The idea of a mentor-mentee contract is promising to set mutual expectations.

REUs are individuals and need varying levels of support. For example, sophomores may have different needs than seniors. A student in his/her first research experience may want/need extensive program support, whereas a student who has REU experience may be ready for a more independent experience.

Educator Table. (Facilitators: Andrew McDevitt, Manisha Patel)

  • Unique value from a cross-site REU program
  • Training students for team science
  • Build student communication skills
  • Enhances NSF science goals
  • Provides a format in which team science can happen

Other thoughts:

  • Assessment needed to address stakeholders in program
  • A network-level coordinator is critical to hold a cross-site program together

Contact: Audrey Barker Plotkin, aabarker@fas.harvard.edu

Our workshop on Interactions between LTER, NEON and CZO went very well. We had approximately 20 participants, including representatives from the leadership of all three networks. There was excellent discussion on specific ways that interaction between the networks could facilitate scientific advances at multiple scales as well as discussion of specific proposal ideas and development of memorandums of understanding. An RCN proposal (lead by Frank Davis) was a direct product of this meeting.

Contact: Peter Groffman, peter.groffman@asrc.cuny.edu

1) We have had one organization meeting, whereby we have identified two possible products:
a) a theoretical paper linking commonalities in unexpected changes among LTER sites, and
b) a test of Odum 1969 using LTER data, building on the recent Corman et al. meta-analysis published in Ecosystems.

2) We have created a Google Drive folder containing all the information related to our workshop.

Contact: John Kominoski, jkominoski@gmail.com

The workshop had 5 attendees (3 grad students) and the time was mainly spent talking with Ed Rastetter about a potential DGS focused on model-based comparison of nutrient cycling at multiple LTER sites.
Contact: Frank Davis, frank.davis@nceas.ucsb.edu

I led a 3-hour workshop to teach people how to use the coydn R package that I am working on, as part of our funded working group. The R functions I am adding are ways to analyze community data over both space and time.

The workshop went well. During the first hour or so, I gave a lecture and demonstrated the different functions in R. During the second half, I, along with colleagues, helped attendees use the functions on their own data. I got lots of good questions and feedback. I particularly think it was helpful to people to have us go around and troubleshoot individual problems with coding as well as conceptualize how to analyze data. As you know, each dataset is unique with its own set of problems.

I have no plans to do anything further, this was really to get the word out and help attendees learn how to use these new functions.

Contact: Meghan Avolio, meghan.avolio@jhu.edu

The organic matter workshop was intended to follow up on work initiated at the Science Council meeting. In light of the upcoming 40th anniversary and pressing societal needs regarding storage and flux of carbon, we are pursuing a synthesis of organic matter research across the LTER network. Sub-groups are currently working on:

  1. Finalizing responses and analyzing data from a survey on organic matter now completed by nearly all sites. (Harms, Becky Ball, Will Wieder)
  2. Summarizing spatial and temporal patterns and trends in OM storage and flux (lead Serita Frey)
  3. Synthesizing results of manipulative experiments that have revealed mechanisms of OM storage, vulnerability to loss, or flux (Derek Pierson, Peter Groffman, John Kominoski)
  4. Curating semi-quantitative stories about interesting OM-related results from a subset of sites (lead: Emily Stanley)
  5. Finalize a conceptual model of OM flux and storage (lead Sarah Hobbie)

We are nearing a first deadline to produce drafts of this information. I will then lead the effort to produce a first draft of this synthesis paper.

We had a large group at the ASM and although I felt a bit like a circus ring-leader, I think the sessions were successful. We kicked off or moved forward work on 1-5 above and there seemed to be a lot of enthusiasm for this topic. I thought the ASM as a whole was a success. The environment stimulated collaboration and synthesis and there was ample time to explore synthesis sessions and catch up with collaborators.

Contact: Tamara Harms, tkharms@alaska.edu

Our workshop consisted mostly of an exchange of information between the four pelagic marine LTER sites (i.e. overview presentations from CCE, PAL, NGA and NES), followed by a prolonged and lively discussion focusing on potential topics that we might pursue for future synthesis activities. Several NSF program managers were in attendance throughout. We also had some discussion of the need for methodological intercomparisons between our sites. After the meeting I produced a summary document of potential synthesis topics (attached), which I circulated to all site PI’s. I have to say that things have not really progressed any further than that. I think we all appreciated the opportunity to come together in the same room at the meeting and exchange information, and I believe that the workshop facilitated many follow-up conversations over the course of the rest of the ASM meeting. The workshop definitely laid the groundwork for closer connections between our sites. The synthesis topics document will, I hope, serve as a useful starting point for future discussions of synthesis efforts.

Contact: Katherine Barbeau kbarbeau@ucsd.edu

Our workshop presented PRIME and its application in FCE-LTER and LUQ-LTER. It was an exciting workshop where attendees have expressed interest to use the tool for their long-term data analysis and also discussed about spreading the word to their colleagues. We learned that there is a need for PRIME and potential collaboration with other LTER sites as well.
We are working on a proposal to organize a followup hands-on workshop at FIU. We intend to invite ASM workshop attendees from UCB, UCSB, UCSD, UNM, UGA, FIU, UNH and others. We expect these attendees to bring their long-term data to the workshop and work on either a joint or separate synthesis towards a manuscript.
Contact: Shimelis Dessu, sbehailu@gmail.com

The aims of our working group were to:
motivate the LTER research community to engage with efforts such as the UN IPBES reports, which are assessing the extent to which ecosystem services depend on biodiversity at large spatial and temporal scales, provide an update on the progress and projects of our synthesis working group, and facilitate a discussion considering how productivity depends on biodiversity at the global scale to allow a wider group of LTER researchers to contribute to the efforts of our working group.

It’s too early to assess whether more LTER researchers will become involved in IPBES, but I will be keeping an eye on this. The updates on the progress of our projects was well received. The discussion helped attendees see how hard it is to answer these questions. Thus, although we did not have a breakthrough during the workshop, we did get more people thinking about these questions and grappling with how to rigorously answer them. We have had several email follow-ups since the conference, which will likely lead to more LTER researchers being included as coauthors on manuscripts produced by our working group.

I was surprised by the amount of interest in connecting our work with the remote sensing community. This also came up during our webinar. We are gradually moving in this direction, though we are aware that there are multiple other working groups with this as their focus and thus are prioritizing finishing the projects our group has started, rather than starting many new projects in these other areas.

Jane and I are analyzing some hyperspectral data I collected with a drone last summer, I will give a keynote talk on the topic of our working group at the British Ecological Society meeting in a few weeks, and I will give a seminar at NASA’s JPL just before our next working group meeting at NCEAS in Feb. None of these are the direct result of the ASM workshop, but I nevertheless mention them because there seems to be a convergence of ideas and efforts on some clear paths forward emerging from these and other conversations.

Contact: Forest Isbell, isbell@umn.edu

The workshop I led was a success! I got some good input from the participants and few folks interested in moving the idea along. Since I’m serving as the grad rep for FCE this year, I think my workshop topic of the graduate student perspective on future advances in ecology would be a great initiative for the grad rep committee to take on. I’m working on synthesizing the results of the ASM workshop and will be present them to the other grad reps at our next meeting. I’m thinking some sort of targeted survey followed by some video conferences to discuss results and try to make something publishable out of it.
Contact: Lukas Lamb-Wotton, llamb009@fiu.edu

The panel discussion was designed to inform the audience about the controlled vocabulary that US LTER uses now for annotating datasets, and how we might take advantage of other semantic approaches used elsewhere in the world. Speakers introduced the goals and use cases for EnvThes, a thesaurus developed by LTER Europe, and ENVO, an ontology for describing environmental entities. There was time for a short discussion at the end of the session, and we also convened an ad hoc session later to map out a plan for where to go next. It emerged that there is a lot of interest in a vocabulary to describe measurement parameters, but no decision on using ENVO or EnvThes was made. Follow-up actions are: 1) John Porter will re-animate the LTER Vocabulary subcommittee of the IM Committee, and 2) EDI will plan a semantics workshop that focuses on needs prioritized by the LTER Vocab subcommittee. That workshop may take place in Santa Barbara to capitalize on the presence of semantics researchers at NCEAS.
Contact: Kristin Vanderbilt, krvander@fiu.edu

Our workshops went really well and we are very appreciative to have been able to attend the conference. I have plans to work on building a new Research Coordination Network based on building capacity for the role of boundary spanning professionals at LTER sites. I have a sign-up sheet with people from other sites who are interested and I heard interest from the LTER Communications Committee as well.

My first step is to write up a short description of the idea and share with the workshop participants and committee members. From there I plan to share with current program officer from the NSF AISL program. We’ve been really busy since the ASM so these steps will likely happen in January.

Contact: Sarah Garlick, sgarlick@hubbardbrookfoundation.org

We had a very detailed discussion of examples of biogeochemical effects of predation that other people had, some unpublished. Many suggested and expressed interest that we should pursue a conceptual paper that maybe highlights examples in LTER, some that were brought up in the workshop. I plan to do this and am working on an outline to send to those that might have data and expressed interest in collaborating. Several individuals also mentioned a previous workshop at the last ASM that had a small related component.

Contact: Bradley Strickland, bstri007@fiu.edu

We had a lot of time for many but succinct 8 min. talks with pre-arranged slide template, small group discussions on foundation species at various sites and across biomes and biological organization level and we gathered Excel spreadsheets with attendees’ (47 people from 18 sites, almost all stayed for the 3 hrs) answers to direct questions we posed and their contact details, plus probably > 10 pages of notes that we are going to use for a manuscript we are planning to write, potentially including a foundation species survey among LTER experts.

Column headings of our Excel file: 1. Foundation species; 2. Organism type; 3. Disturbance (press and/or pulse); 4. Controls; 5.Facilitation; 6. Discussion 1; 7. Discussion 2
Contact: Luca Marazzi, lmarazzi@fiu.edu

We had about 30-40 people attend our session and we recorded names and email addresses to start a mailing list. We presented the basics of UAV use and site monitoring and had an open and lively discussion. There was a fair amount of exchange of methods and challenges between the terrestrial and aquatic sites, I think that most attendees came away from the workshop with a few new techniques to try in their own system.

We are interested in following up on this workshop. We would like the mailing list to address UAV questions and new ideas in the community. This will be especially important as the field and technology matures. For example, we have started a hyperspectral monitoring campaign in the time since the workshop. There have been several hurdles that were have successfully passed, and it would be useful to get that information out to the LTER community.
Contact: Tom Bell, tbell@ucsb.edu