National Ecological Observatory Network, United States
Soil microbe communities vary enormously across landscapes, from pore to site and regional scale. The biotic and abiotic factors that can cause these cross-scale shifts are difficult to ascertain. The National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) is a large-scale, long-term project that provides a baseline set of data to help resolve these and other ecological questions. With 182 data products across 81 U.S. field sites, NEON attempts to better define ecosystems and understand how they are changing. As part of this mission, NEON collects metagenomic information about microbes in order to help define their community composition and function.
By integrating NEON metagenomic and biogeochemical data, we can evaluate the factors that influence microbial community composition and how these communities change over space and time. Here, we relate the NEON microbial genomic data with corresponding soil physical and chemical data, including soil moisture, pH, temperature, and chemistry and stable isotopic measurements of soil and roots. By leveraging the power of NEON’s varied and immense dataset, we can better understand microbial communities, how they are influenced by soil biogeochemistry, and in turn how they influence the abiotic composition of the soil.
As part of these processes, we are developing tutorials and software to help link together these highly varied and complex datasets. Data collections are conducted at many scales and at many times across the year, and we are creating traceable and reproducible methods for combining these measurement streams. We will present our methodology for data integration alongside the initial results from analyzing the combined dataset.