Thursday, September 8, 2011

An acronym in environmental monitoring: NEON for National Ecological Observatory Network

 In ecology, NEON stands for National Ecological Observatory Network [1,2]. NEON is a public source (, that is going to acquire biological and physical data from plains, forests and lakes, representing different regions of vegetation, landforms, climate and ecosystem performance. The data will be collected and represented in computer spreadsheets, available to scientists, teachers, students, decision makers and the public in general to promote broad ecological literacy.

According to the Nature editorial preceding [1], NEON could be a powerful tool for investigating human pressure on the biosphere: “in an exceedingly difficult fiscal environment, the new ecological network represents a refreshingly forward-looking initiative. Ecologists (and headline writers) everywhere should welcome it.”

Notice the distinction between fiscal environment and ecological environment!

Further, notice that NEON is pronounced in the same way as is the name of the chemical element and rare gas neon. In writing and printing, the two meanings of this term can usually be distinguished by uppercase and lowercase letters.  

References and details
[1] Jeff Tollefson: US launches eco-network. Nature 11. August 2011, 476 (7359), page 135 (also see editorial on page 125) [].
[2] National Science Foundation: Final National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) Environment Assessment:

No comments:

Post a Comment