Designed to improve understanding of the ecological effects of climate change, land-use change and invasive species, the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) is a continental-scale sampling platform of 47 sites across 20 ecoclimatic regions of the United States (including Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico) that will enable researchers to collect and record samples and data for a period of 30 years.
In this paper, specialists describe efforts and rationale behind the NEON project dedicated to sample abundance and diversity of ground beetles (Carabidae), an ideal sentinel taxon. Using a simple but effective pitfall trapping methodology, rigorously prototyped and tested to maximize efficiency and minimize vertebrate bycatch, the team will collect carabids from 40 traps per site every two weeks. The collected beetles will sorted and identified by experts to the species level.
Using initial project findings combined with existing GBIF-mediated data, the researchers show the potential usefulness in modeling how phenology might change with future climate alterations. All the data produced by the project will be freely available through the NEON data portal, and the team is also working towards publishing the data as sampling event datasets through GBIF.org.