An Experiment for All Seasons

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Science  27 Jul 2001:
Vol. 293, Issue 5530, pp. 624-627
DOI: 10.1126/science.293.5530.624

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In probing fundamental ecology and forcing scientists of all stripes to work together, the National Science Foundation's Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Network has proved a smashing success--as well as a huge sociology experiment. The largest single project in ecology, involving over 1200 scientists and students, the LTER includes habitats as diverse as a tropical rainforest in Puerto Rico, Antarctica's dry valleys, prairie in the U.S. heartland--even the inner cities of Baltimore and Phoenix. The LTER is having a lasting effect on the field of ecology, spurring it toward a new, more open culture, and it has inspired similar projects in 21-and-counting countries around the world.

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