In hopes of securing FY 2004 funding, the American Institute of Biological Sciences released a white paper March 25 intended to strengthen arguments for a long-sought nationwide network of ecological observatories. First proposed more than four years ago, the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) project has faced an uphill battle, having been passed over by appropriators who complained of a lack of detail in the plan that envisions at least 17 sites able to conduct coordinated ecological experiments across broad geographical and temporal scales.

Based on several workshops held in recent months, the white paper, titled "Rationale, Blueprint, and Expectations for the National Ecological Observatory Network," was created to further explain the project to the scientific community and fill-in missing details to help convince Congress to fund the project via the National Science Foundation, according to Adrienne Froelich, director of AIBS public policy. An NSF-funded AIBS working group,...

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