The National Science Foundation (NSF) added three new sites to the Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) Network, bringing the total number of U.S. sites to 28. The new sites, which focus on areas with highly productive fisheries, will add a much stronger marine emphasis to the LTER Network.
“The new LTER sites will bring new locations, technologies and scientists to the challenge of understanding our coastal oceans. Research at the new sites will matter to everyone who eats U.S. seafood, is involved in coastal industries, or depends on the coastal oceans in any way, [which] includes all of us.”
- Rick Murray, director of NSF's Division of Ocean Sciences
The three new sites include:
- Northeast U.S. Shelf LTER
This LTER site is located in the Atlantic Ocean off the U.S. Northeast coast. Through long-term research at this new site, scientists hope to understand the links among the ocean environment, plankton food webs and fish stocks, as well as how this ecosystem will respond to ecological change.
- Northern Gulf of Alaska LTER
This new LTER site is located along Alaska's Seward Line in the Northern Gulf of Alaska. Research at this site will allow for more in-depth analysis on the processes behind observed ecological change. Studies will focus on the Gulf's waters, which can lead to a better understanding of an ecosystem that contains many of the nation's largest fisheries.
- Beaufort Lagoon Ecosystem LTER
Located along the northern Alaskan coast, this site will be the first LTER in the Arctic to focus on a coastal marine ecosystem. Scientists at the site will study the interactions between land and ocean that shape food webs and coastal ecosystems in the Arctic over different time scales. They are especially interested in investigating the processes that occur under the ice and during ice break-up, which are thought to regulate food web pathways and species diversity.
The LTER Network Communications Office, operated by NCEAS, welcomes the new sites to the LTER Network. They will add an important dimension for understanding the functioning of coastal and continental shelf ecosystems over long time scales.