Ecological research network wins national award

Recognizing 30 years of research by thousands of scientists, the American Institute of Biological Sciences at a May 18, 2010, ceremony honored the Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Network with its 2010 Distinguished Scientist Award. The award is presented annually for significant scientific contributions to the biological sciences.

Arizona State University's Central Arizona—Phoenix Long-Term Ecological Research (CAP LTER) project is one of 26 LTER sites sharing in this honor. Launched in 1997, CAP LTER is one of two sites funded by the National Science Foundation that specifically studies urban ecology.

The LTER Network studies ecological processes that play out at time scales spanning decades to centuries. Long-term data sets from LTER provide a context to evaluate the nature and pace of ecological change, to interpret its effects, and to forecast the range of future biological responses to change.

The CAP LTER project provides an important addition to LTER research by focusing on an arid land ecosystem profoundly influenced by human activities. More than 50 biological, physical, engineering, and social scientists from ASU and a wide range of local partners are working together to study the structure and function of the urban ecosystem, assess the effects of urban development on the Sonoran Desert, and define the impact of ecological conditions on urban development. The project has been instrumental in establishing urban ecology as a recognized and important area of ecological inquiry.

For more information about the Central Arizona—Phoenix Long-Term Ecological Research project, visit