ECN generates a nationally unique range of high frequency physical, biogeochemical and biological measurements that are made in close proximity, and represent the ecosystem variables that both drive, and respond to, environmental change.
ECN datasets are made freely available for scientific research at universities, colleges, research institutes and elsewhere.
ECN sites are maintained by locally-based 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.
Over 190 peer-reviewed journal papers published between 2011 and 2020 used ECN data and/or sites
ECN sites as research bases
ECN sites are staffed by locally-based site managers with an in-depth understanding of the ecosystems at their site
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. Moor House, together with ECN Snowdon and ECN Cairngorms, supports active research communities investigating upland ecosystems. Similarly, Rothamsted, North Wyke, Alice Holt and Wytham all host researchers studying lowland agricultural and woodland systems.
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), while there is considerable potential to harness recent advances in satellite image resolution to learn more about ECN sites. 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.
Developing new monitoring approaches
ECN staff are applying new methods for environmental monitoring. For example, at ECN Cairngorm motion-triggered cameras and advanced bat detectors are being used to investigate the ecology of mammal and bird populations in this remote upland habitat.
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