|Proposal to NBII, July, 2007|
Understanding and managing the impact of invasive species, weather, fire, pollution, and other environmental changes on biological systems is a mammoth task. It is impossible to conduct randomized, replicated experiments to study the impact of invasions, droughts, heat waves, and other massive perturbations on the abundance and distribution of populations between and within ecological communities. Fortunately, because of recent advances in technology and statistics, it is now feasible to collect and integrate information from a large number of study sites, tease out the response of populations to natural events, and gain understanding into their environmental requirements and interactions.
In 2008, the National Park Service, the Polistes Foundation, and their partners propose to start a large-scale, long-term scientific study of U.S. National Parks and other areas in North America (please see http://www.discoverlife.org/pa/or/polistes/pr/20007nps). They propose to field 25 teams of scientists, students, and volunteers to study the impact of environmental factors on a diverse array of species. These include ants, bees, butterflies, caterpillars and their natural enemies, diseases of trees, dragonflies, dung beetles, ferns, goldenrods, ladybugs, lichens, liverworts, milkweeds, mushrooms, orchids, salamanders, slime molds, snails, vines, wildflowers and a few yet-to-be-determined groups.
The teams will use on-line databases and a set of standard research protocols to gather and share information from a potential vast array of study sites. Here we seek support from NBII to set up the databases that 25 research teams will need when they start field work next spring.
The Discover Life has the database technology needed for the teams to collect and share information via the web. This technology allows users to build and use identification guides, submit observations and images, manage data records, and map results. In June, 2007, the website's network of 20 computers served over 8 million pages and images from over 500 integrated databases.
Budget requested from NBII:
Anticipated completion date:
April, 2008, or 9 months from completion of paper work between USGS-NBII and The Polistes Foundation.
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