The LTER Network makes data available online with as few restrictions as possible. LTER data is reviewed for errors and inconsistencies and thoroughly documented so that it can be incorporated into broader comparative and synthetic studies. LTER Information Managers, stationed at each LTER site, work to ensure that LTER data is reviewed for errors and inconsistencies and thoroughly documented so that it can be incorporated into broader comparative and synthetic studies.

LTER data form the backbone of long-term ecological inquiry. Freely available data are used and reused many times over, often to answer unexpected questions years after their collection. And, data form the backbone of cross-site synthesis, both within the LTER network and beyond.

How to access LTER data

Environmental Data Initiative

The Environmental Data Initiative (EDI) is the main repository for LTER data. EDI is an environmental data repository that curates and maintains data from many environmental science research programs — especially those funded through NSF’s Division of Environmental Biology. It grew out of the information management systems and practices of the LTER Network and was established as an independent program in 2016.

Regional Repositories

LTER data are also available through disciplinary or regional repositories such as the Biological and Chemical Oceanography Data Management Office (BCO-DMO), the Arctic Data Center, the Dryad Digital Repository, and others. The most comprehensive search of public data at this time is available via the DataONE Federation, LTER member node.

Local Site Catalogues

Many LTER sites also have a local data catalog that includes LTER and non-LTER data, presented in a way that is most usable for site-based researchers. It may also include data that are not yet publicly available because it hasn’t been cleaned and documented or because manuscripts using the data haven’t yet been submitted to journals.

Credit: Jornada Basin LTER (right) & Moorea Coral Reef LTER (left), CC BY-SA 4.0.

Using LTER Data: Best Practices

We love it when LTER data can contribute to scientific discovery and environmental management in unexpected ways and we encourage researchers to cite LTER data using the Digital Object Identifier (DOI) associated with each data package.

When using data collected by another investigator, it is both courteous and wise to make direct contact with the investigator before incorporating the data into your analyses. Contact information and funding sources are available in the metadata associated with each data package.

The LTER Data Access Policy was last updated at the 2017 LTER Science Council Meeting. Guidelines for LTER information management systems were updated in Fall, 2017.

LTER Data Community

LTER Information Managers have a strong cross-site community, with weekly watercooler meetings to share all sorts of data management ideas plus formal meetings across the network. They also publish the DataBits Newsletter approximately twice a year, with updates on information activities at sites and deep dives into topics of interest to LTER and other Environmental Information Managers. All current and past issues are available in the LTER DataBits archive.

Recent DataBits Stories

  • VCR Virtual ASM

    Implementing a Virtual Site All-Scientists’ Meeting

      By John Porter, Virginia Coastal Reserve LTER The big decision and assessing virtual meeting needs Each January, the Virginia Coast Reserve LTER holds an “All Scientists’ Meeting” to exchange information about research progress and to plan for upcoming activities over the coming year. Typically, this is an in-person meeting held at the Anheuser-Busch Coastal……


  • Databits: ezEML — A Do-It-Yourself Form-Based Editor for Creating Metadata Documents in EML, the Ecological Metadata Language

    By Jon Ide and Mark Servilla, Environmental Data Initiative ezEML is a form-based online tool to streamline the creation of metadata in the Ecological Metadata Language (EML). It was created by the Environmental Data Initiative (EDI) and employs EDI’s Metapype library, which is a general-purpose framework for creating and validating metadata, along with Metapype’s implementation……


  • The IMCR: A Catalog of Information Management Software

      By Kristin Vanderbilt (EDI) & Colin Smith (EDI) Scientists, students, and information management professionals often find themselves in need of code or software to help clean, process, document, and manage data. The Information Management Code Registry (IMCR) aims to make it easier to find existing tools by guiding users to discover software that performs……


  • Databits: LTER Site Bytes 2020 Coastal Edition

    Each year, the LTER Information Management (IM) committee gathers updates from sites across the network related to IM system and personnel changes over the past year, compiling them into a series of ‘Site Bytes’, or site summaries. This November, the first 2020 Site Bytes that started rolling into the editors’ (virtual) office were all from……


  • DataBits: Off-Site Backups to Amazon Web Services

    What would happen to your site’s data if a fire, hurricane, or ransomware tore through your campus? Veteran information manager John Porter decided that a cloud backup was a wise insurance policy.


LTER Site Information Managers

Site NameData Manager
Andrews Forest LTERSuzanne Remillard
Arctic LTERJames Laundre
Baltimore Ecosystem StudyMary Martin
Beaufort Lagoon Ecosystems LTERTim Whiteaker
Bonanza Creek LTERJason Downing
California Current Ecosystem LTERMarina Frants
Cedar Creek LTERDan Bahauddin
Central Arizona - Phoenix LTERStevan Earl
Coweeta LTER
Florida Coastal Everglades LTERGabriel Kamener
Georgia Coastal Ecosystems LTERAdam Sapp
Harvard Forest LTEREmery Boose
Hubbard Brook LTERMary Martin
Jornada Basin LTERGreg Maurer
Kellogg Biological Station LTERSven Bohm
Konza Prairie LTERYang Xia
LTER Network Office (UCSB)
Luquillo LTERMiguel Leon
McMurdo Dry Valleys LTERRenée F. Brown
Minneapolis-St. Paul LTERMary Marek-Spartz (
Moorea Coral Reef LTERHillary Krumbholz
Niwot Ridge LTERSarah Elmendorf
North Temperate Lakes LTERMark Gahler
Northeast U.S. Shelf LTERKate Morkeski
Northern Gulf of Alaska LTERChris Turner
Palmer Antarctica LTERJohn Kerfoot
Plum Island Ecosystems LTERRisa McNellis (
Santa Barbara Coastal LTERLi Kui
Sevilleta LTERKris Hall
Shortgrass Steppe LTER
Virginia Coast Reserve LTERJohn Porter