Article by Robert B. Waide and McOwiti O. Thomas for Springer Science+Business Media, LLC

The Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) Network is the largest and longest-lived ecological network in the United States. Designed to provide long-term data from a broad range of key ecosystems, the LTER Network represents a unique national resource to address pressing environmental issues such as climate change, loss of biodiversity, and changes in patterns of land use. LTER is recognized internationally as one of the best organized and most successful large groups conducting research in ecology. With over 1,500 scientists, educators, and students, the network spans 26 sites located in 16 states in the contiguous United States, Alaska in the Arctic, Antarctica, and islands in the Caribbean and the Pacific Ocean (Fig. 1).