Understanding environmental change. Supporting environmental science
Over 170 peer-reviewed journal papers published between 2006 and 2015 used of ECN data and/or sites
ECN generates a nationally unique range of high frequency physical, biogeochemical and biological measurements that are made in close proximity. These long-term data comprise measurements of ecosystem variables that drive and respond to environmental change.
ECN data are made freely available for scientific research at universities, colleges, research institutes and elsewhere.
Each ECN site is maintained by dedicated site managers. They have an excellent understanding of the ecosystems at their sites, and use ECN and other available data to investigate trends, publish research findings and encourage and supervise research projects. They also collaborate on cross-network analyses of the data, supported by staff in the ECN Central Coordination Unit.
Recent and on-going research by ECN partners includes:
- a Special Issue, 15 papers based on long-term research and monitoring at ECN terrestrial sites, to mark 20 years of the network
- a comparison of ecosystem services delivered by eleven ECN sites
- an assessment of aquatic macrophyte community changes at Loch Leven
- investigations of the dynamics of carabid beetle populations
- a study of the effects of agri-environment schemes at Wytham Woods.
ECN sites as research bases
ECN sites are staffed by dedicated site managers with an in-depth understanding of the ecosystems at their sites
Several ECN sites are currently used as bases for field research. For example, Moor House-Upper Teesdale is a focus for research on peatland carbon dynamics and hosts research teams from several universities and research institutes. ECN Snowdon and ECN Cairngorms both support active research communities investigating upland ecosystems, whilst Rothamsted, North Wyke, Alice Holt and Wytham all host researchers studying lowland agricultural and woodland systems. Windermere and Loch Leven are lakes with a long history of monitoring and research.
ECN and Earth Observation
Long-term environmental observations at ECN sites have great potential for ground truthing Earth Observation (EO) data collected by satellites, aircraft and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs, drones). Meanwhile, monitoring at ECN sites should benefit from recent advances in satellite image resolution. A range of exploratory studies are helping to elucidate links between reflectance signals and a range of ecosystem properties and processes. These studies could also benefit the development of tools for conservation management. Read more...
Developing new monitoring approaches
ECN staff are also developing new methods for environmental monitoring. For example, teams at ECN Moor House-Upper Teesdale and ECN Cairngorms are trialling the use of motion- and heat-triggered cameras, bird song recorders and advanced bat detectors to investigate the ecology of mammal and bird populations in remote upland habitats.
ECN was the founding model for the Environmental Change Biodiversity Network (ECBN). Data from ECBN sites are managed by the ECN Data Centre.
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