Edward Ayres, National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON), Boulder, CO
The National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) is a 30-year National Science Foundation-funded facility for understanding and forecasting the impacts of climate change, land use change, and invasive species on aspects of continental-scale ecology such as biodiversity, biogeochemistry, infectious diseases, and ecohydrology. NEON will measure a wide range of properties at 60 terrestrial and 36 aquatic sites throughout the US using in situ sensors, sample collection/lab analysis, and remote sensing, and all data will be made freely available. The Observatory is currently under construction and will be fully operational by 2017, however, limited data collection and release will begin in 2013. In addition, NEON is archiving large numbers of samples, including surface soils (top ~30 cm) collected from locations across each site, and soils collected by horizon to 2 m deep from a single soil pit at each site. Here I present information about the latter, focusing on sampling and processing, metadata, and currently available samples. At each terrestrial site the soil pit is dug in the locally dominant soil type and soil is collected by horizon, mixed, and ~4-8 liters soil is sent for processing. Soil samples are air-dried and sieved (mineral soil) or air-dried (organic soil) and 1.2 kg is split between 4 glass jars for archiving (protocol available upon request). To date 12 soil pits have been sampled, representing 7 soil orders, and soils from 86 horizons have been archived or are being processed. Metadata associated with each archive sample include a soil profile description, photos, and soil properties (total C, N, S, Al, Ca, Fe, K, Mg, Mn, Na, P, Si, Sr, Ti, Zr, bulk density, pH, and texture). The procedure for requesting samples from the archive is under development and I encourage scientists to use the archive in their future research.