USA NPN National Phenology Network

Taking the Pulse of Our Planet

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The USA National Phenology Network's National Phenology Database: A Multi-taxa, Continental-scale Dataset for Scientific Inquiry

The National Phenology Database, maintained by the USA-NPN, is experiencing steady growth in the number of data records it houses. By the end of CY 2012, professional and volunteer participants in the USA-NPN national-scale, multi-taxa phenology observation program Nature's Notebook had contributed over 1.5 million observation records (encompassing four and three years of observations for plants and for animals, respectively). Data are freely available at, and include FGDC-compliant metadata, data-use and data-attribution policies, vetted and documented methodologies and protocols, and version control. Quality assurance and quality control, and metadata data associated with field observations (e.g., effort and method reporting, site and organism condition) are also documented. Data are also available for exploration, visualization and preliminary analysis at Patterns in the data collected by Nature's Notebook participants are beginning to emerge demonstrating the value of this data resource. For example, preliminary analysis indicates that plant phenology is closely tracking seasonal changes in climatological variables. This presentation will provide an overview as to the potential utility of data housed in the National Phenology Database to a broad variety of stakeholders interested in the spatial and temporal patterns of plant and animal activity on a national scale. We encourage researchers and decision makers to take advantage of this rich new data resource.