Ecosystem-scale manipulation experiments represent large science investments that require well-designed
data acquisition and management systems to provide reliable, accurate information to project participants and third party users. The SPRUCE project (Spruce and Peatland Responses Under Climatic and Environmental Change, http://mnspruce.ornl.gov) is such an experiment funded by the Department of Energy’s (DOE), Office of Science, Terrestrial Ecosystem Science (TES) Program. The SPRUCE experimental mission is to assess ecosystem-level biological responses of vulnerable, high carbon terrestrial ecosystems
to a range of climate warming manipulations and an elevated CO2 atmosphere. SPRUCE provides a platform for testing mechanisms controlling the vulnerability of organisms, biogeochemical processes, and ecosystems to climatic change (e.g., thresholds for organism decline or mortality, limitations to regeneration, biogeochemical limitations to productivity, and the cycling and release of CO2 and CH4 to the atmosphere).
The SPRUCE experiment will generate a wide range of continuous and discrete measurements.
To successfully manage SPRUCE data collection, achieve SPRUCE science objectives, and support broader climate change research, the research staff has designed a flexible data system using proven network technologies and software components. The primary SPRUCE data system components are the following:
1. data acquisition and control system – set of hardware and software to retrieve biological and engineering data from sensors, collect sensor status information, and distribute feedback to control components;
2. data collection system – set of hardware and software to deliver data to a central depository for storage and
3. data management plan – set of plans, policies, and practices to control consistency, protect data integrity, and deliver data.
This publication presents our approach to meeting the challenges of designing and constructing an efficient data system for managing high volume sources of in situ observations in a remote, harsh environmental location. The approach covers data flow starting from the sensors and ending at the archival/distribution points, discusses types of hardware and software used, examines design considerations that were used to choose them, and describes the data management practices chosen to control and enhance the value of the data.