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

  • DataBits Newsletter, Fall 2012

    In the Fall 2012 DataBits issue we feature articles related to sensor networks as a follow-up to the SensorNIS workshop held at Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest LTER in New Hampshire on October 25-27, 2011. We use this opportunity to present articles that discuss 1) progress made on sensor site establishment including types of sensors, sensor……


  • DataBits Newsletter, Spring 2012

    The Spring 2012 issue of Databits is focused on highlighting geospatial activities at both individual and cross-site scales, as well as identifying resources to help manage the large collections of GIS and imagery data at LTER sites. The Information Management GIS working group provides updates on their recent workshops and their 2 cross-site projects: LTERMaps……


  • DataBits Newsletter, Fall 2011

    In this issue of Databits, we see results from group and individual efforts to better serve the LTER Network, both from a technological and a socio-technical perspective. Noting that “one would be hard-pressed this fall to find an idle information manager,” IMC Co-Chairs Don Henshaw and Margaret O’Brien provide a detailed synopsis of the activities……


  • DataBits Newsletter, Spring 2011

    Welcome to the Spring 2011 issue of Databits! This “bumper” edition of our information management newsletter contains 20 interesting articles, from 16 authors, representing 12 LTER sites. This is a time of increasing change, with external funding agencies and people both internal and external to our network realizing the value of effective research data management….…


  • DataBits Newsletter, Fall 2010

    Welcome to the Fall 2010 issue of Databits wherein 18 authors contribute from 11 sites and 2 institutes in 3 countries. Seven relevant and insightful feature articles relate to growth and refinement of systems. All three editorials share the theme of continuous change. And both the suggested readings reflect on past adaptations. Even the two……


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)Julien Brun
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 LTERCorinna Gries
Northeast U.S. Shelf LTERStace Beaulieu
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
Virginia Coast Reserve LTERJohn Porter