The Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) Program is, in a sense, an experiment to transform the nature of science, and represents one of the most effective mechanisms for catalyzing comprehensive site-based research that is collaborative, multidisciplinary, and long-term in nature. The scientific contributions of the Program are prodigious, but the broader impacts of participation have not been examined in a formal way. This book captures the consequences of participation in the Program on the perspectives, attitudes, and practices of environmental scientists.
The edited volume comprises three sections. The first section includes two chapters that provide an overview of the history, goals, mission, and inner workings of the LTER network of sites. The second section comprises three dozen retrospective essays by scientists, data managers or educators who represent a broad spectrum of LTER sites from deserts to tropical forests and from arctic to marine ecosystems.
Each essay addresses the same series of probing questions to uncover the extent to which participation has affected the ways that scientists conduct research, educate students, or provide outreach to the public. The final section encompasses 5 chapters, whose authors are biophysical scientists, historians, behavioral scientists, or social scientists. This section analyzes, integrates, or synthesizes the content of the previous chapters from multiple perspectives and uncovers emergent themes and future directions.
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