About our science

Understanding environmental change. Supporting environmental science.

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.

195 peer-reviewed journal papers published between 2011 and 2020 used ECN data and/or sites

View our Publications

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, RothamstedNorth WykeAlice 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.

More on ECN and EO

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.

Also in this section:

ECN and Earth Observation
Key messages from our 'ECN at 20' special issue

See also:

Request data
Enquire about conducting research at an ECN site