Amidst growing global concerns for the effects of climate change and other large-scale environmental challenges, nearly 800 scientists associated with the US Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Network are meeting this week in Colorado to discuss and exchange ideas on possible solutions to the collaborative and scientific challenges in studying climate change. Held every three years, the 2012 All Scientists Meeting (ASM) runs from Sept. 10 to 13 at the YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park, Colo.

Scott Collins, chair of the LTER Executive Board and Science Council and professor of Biology at UNM observes, "Ecological research is growing more interdisciplinary in order to address an increasing number of global environmental challenges. As we move into the Anthropocene , international collaborations among biophysical and social scientists will be essential to develop solutions that can help to create a more sustainable biosphere."

In addition to plenary presentations focused on the theme, "The Unique Role of the LTER Network in the Anthropocene: Collaborative Science across Scales," the schedule includes over 75 Working Group meetings and more than 400 scientific posters.

Among the highlights of the plenary sessions will be presentations by John Wingfield, Assistant Director for Biological Sciences at the National Science Foundation (Vision of a Strategic Innovation for Biological Sciences); Erle C. Ellis (Ecology in the Anthropocene: Observing, Understanding, and Embracing Human Nature); Robert Kates (Does LTER All Science include Sustainability Science?); Steve Lansing (The Balinese Would Like a Word: Implications of Alternate Steady States in Lakes and Rice Paddies); Michael P. Nelson (The Value of, and Challenges for Long Term Ecological Research); Elizabeth Borer (Emergent properties of cooperative science: the whole is greater than the sum of its parts); and Luis Amaral (From the three Rs to the three Cs: Complexity, Creativity, Collaboration).

The working group meetings are particularly important to LTER, as it is here that researchers and students interact to discuss, plan, and share results of LTER research in a structured setting. "Working group discussions help formulate new ideas and guide LTER research in new directions, as well as build long-term collaborations," says Robert B. Waide, Executive Director of the LTER Network Office, which is based at the University of New Mexico (UNM) in Albuquerque.

During one such workshop, the Network Information System team of Mark Servilla and Duane Costa will unveil a new initiative called the LTER Data Co-op. "The Data Co-op works like a cooperative warehouse where all the LTER data are stored in data packages contributed by 27 past and present LTER sites," says James Brunt, Chief Information Officer at the Network Office, adding that "each data contributor has a stake in the operation."

The more than 400 poster presentations will allow participants to share the results of their work with colleagues without the constraints of time and space inherent in a working group setting.

For more information, including the meeting agenda and bios of plenary speakers, visit 2012 LTER ASM.