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stearnswharf-cropped-nco-newsSummer 2016

Dear PIs and Site Managers,

It was great to see so many of you in Santa Barbara for the LTER Science Council meeting. I hope you enjoyed our lovely city and began to get a sense of where the office is heading. I certainly got a much better feeling for the interests and energy of our wide-ranging network.

Within-network communication is a particular challenge for such a distributed organization. The email you are reading is the first of what I expect to be quarterly updates on the progress and plans that are taking shape at the NCO. Much of the enclosed information is available on the lternet web site, but I’ll use this forum to call out the most current and relevant information for your attention, particularly while we work to upgrade the existing web site.

Please feel free to share this information with other site personnel as you see fit. And don’t hesitate to reach out with questions, suggestions, or news.


Marty Downs
LTER Lead Communications Officer


Three Synthesis Working Groups were selected out of 24 submissions. Congratulations to:

  • Adam Wymore (LUQ) and Sujay Kaushal (BES) — Stream elemental cycling: Global patterns in stream energy and nutrient cycling
  • Eric R. Sokol (MCM), Christopher M. Swan (BES), Nathan I. Wisnoski (AND) — A synthesis to identify how metacommunity dynamics mediate community responses to disturbance across the ecosystems represented in the LTER network
  • Kimberly J. La Pierre (KNZ/CDR/SGS), Meghan L. Avolio (KNZ), Kevin R. Wilcox (KNZ/SGS) — Integrating plant community and ecosystem responses to chronic global change drivers: Toward an explanation of patterns and improved global predictions

A new RFP will be released by the end of July, with a deadline in the first week of October. A few provocative topics emerged from the science council meeting in May and we expect other great ideas to bubble up from ESA and summer fieldwork.

Science Council

The LTER science council had a successful 3-day meeting, May 17-19, 2016. Details of the discussions and presentations are available on the Intranet.

Site Presentations  |  EB discussions  |  Science Council notes


The first open science meeting of the international LTER Network (ILTER) will be held October 9-13 in Kruger National Park, South Africa. Twenty-two LTER researchers received funding through the NCO to present their work and cultivate global connections.

NCO Web Site Launched

A new web site lays out the nuts and bolts of who’s who at the NCO and how we intend to operate. We’ve also established a set of generic e-mail addresses for NCO functions: for general NCO-related questions for communications-related questions and story ideas for education-related issues and questions for synthesis working group questions for proposal submissions and RFP-related questions for the training function at the NCO  for NCO-related travel arrangements and reimbursements

NCO Personnel Update

NCO Executive Director Frank Davis handed off the NCEAS leadership baton to Ben Halpern on July 1—freeing up time for more research, teaching, and LTER.

At the end of July, we say goodbye to LTER Travel Coordinator Jordan Halland. Sad as we are to see her go, she’s off on a great adventure to travel and teach English in France. The new travel coordinator, Ana Peters, will begin work July 27. After that date, you can reach her at or

Many of you are hearing from our summer fellows. Recent Bren School graduate Terra Alpaugh is working on a variety of LTER projects, including an update of the interactive map. Nicole Poletto is working on education projects, including the RET information-share and improved marketing for the LTER Schoolyard Book Series.

Ecological Society of America Meeting

The NCO and the Environmental Data Initiative (EDI) will be sharing exhibition booth #426 at ESA. Stop by; say hello; tell us what’s happening at your site.

LTER researchers will present almost 150 talks and posters at the Ecological Society of America meeting next month.  Find a list of LTER-related talks on the LTERNET web site. Did we miss yours? Drop a line to to add it. And next year, be sure to include “LTER” somewhere in your affiliation or abstract!


The NCO now houses and operates all of the non-data web sites for, including the main web site, as well as additional web servers for managing the personnel and site databases, the image gallery, the Information Management Committee site, the intranet and document archive, newsletter sites (databits, news), sites for the all scientists meetings (asm2015 and others), and various other ancillary sites.

The LTER data portal and NIS is being supported by the PASTA-Plus team at the University of New Mexico. The proposed Network Information Management Office (NIMO) has joined forces with PASTA-Plus and been transformed into a data outreach, curation, and training organization (Environmental Data Initiative  or EDI) that will help address the information management needs of LTER, LTREB, OBFS, and MacroSystems Biology researchers.

Don’t understand who’s handling what aspects of  LTER communications and information management? The truth is, we’re still working some of that out, but we’ll try to keep you updated as we move forward.

LTER Road Trip

Photographer-writer Erika Zambello will be blogging her way around the Network over the next year. Starting with the Southeastern sites, she is visiting all of the LTER sites in the lower 48 states to write, photograph and produce short videos. Her plan is to hit the Northeastern sites in the fall, the Western sites in the winter, and circle back to the Midwest in spring and summer of 2017.