Overview of LTER

LTER Overview

Did some digging on the LTER website: www.lternet.edu to learn more about some of their programs. As Professor Curie discussed in class, LTER (Long Term Ecological Research Network) is a 26 site global research network that investigates different ecosystems in 5 core areas as discussed on their website:

• Pattern and control of primary production;
• Spatial and temporal distribution of populations selected to represent trophic structure;
• Pattern and control of organic matter accumulation in surface layers and sediments;
• Patterns of inorganic inputs and movements of nutrients through soils, groundwater and surface waters;
• Patterns and frequency of site disturbances

This video, though a little outdated in its presentation gives a good overview of some of the programs that LTER is working on. Many of the issues discussed are similar to some of the (aquatic issues) especially we have discussed in class such as algae blooms, stream cleanup and pollution etc. Take a look:

One particular project that looked interesting is the Konza Prairie Biological Station a tall grass prairie ecosystem of which 3487-hectare area is the principle area of study. The study is overseen by scientists at Kansas State. The site is located

Begun in 1981 the theory behind this ecosystem research is that fires across the tall grass prairies (extant and historical) contribute to switching between multiple limiting resources (water, nutrient cycling) along with grazing and other climactic regimes, unlike other ecosystems where single limiting resources have the dominant effect. The factors are influenced by landscape and topographic features. Scientishts study climate change and additional phenonmena that they observe through their research.

I then looked at an example of nutrient cycling that was part of this project:

Specifically the investigation of “Depth and Nutrient Content of Groundwater from Wells near Kings Creek” taking place between 1993-present.


Interesting look at how land that has not been grazed responds to burning which is done every two years in late Spring and how nutrients cycle in this example. Check out the links to the different data sets (see link above)

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