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Long-Term Monitoring and Experiments

Long-Term Monitoring and Experiments

Long-term monitoring and experiments are at the core of CAP LTER’s research program. They enable CAP scientists to examine changes over time, particularly in ecological variables that are slow cycling. In the rapidly growing Phoenix metropolitan region, long-term studies also allows scientists to monitor changes as urbanization takes place in urban fringe areas and as density increases in already urbanized areas.

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The atmospheric deposition monitoring program is designed to explore patterns of material deposition across the greater Phoenix metropolitan area and surrounding Sonoran desert.


The CAP LTER has been using a standardized point-count protocol to monitor the bird population in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area and surrounding Sonoran desert region since 2000.


CAP LTER investigators are testing the hypothesis that distinct biogeochemical pathways result from elevated inorganic nitrogen and organic carbon deposition from the atmosphere to the land.


The Ecological Survey of Central Arizona is an extensive field survey and integrated inventory designed to capture key ecological indicators of the CAP LTER study area.


The CAP LTER has been collecting arthropods since 1998 using a simple but effective technique called pitfall trapping.


The North Desert Village (NDV) landscape experiment at ASU’s Polytechnic campus is designed to give a platform for CAP LTER researchers to study human–landscape interactions.


The Phoenix Area Social Survey (PASS) parallels the Ecological Survey of Central Arizona/Survey 200 as a major component of CAP’s long-term monitoring program.


The CAP LTER began monitoring birds and herpetofauna (reptiles + amphibians) at select locations along the Salt River in 2012.


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Tempe Town Lake Water Quality

The CAP LTER has been monitoring water quality in the Tempe Town Lake, a man-made reservoir in the heart of Tempe, AZ since 2005.


The CAP LTER is developing robust water and nutrient budgets for the Tres Rios constructed wetland in Phoenix, AZ USA.


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Urban Flux Tower

The CAP LTER maintains a flux tower to facilitate neighborhood-scale investigations of atmospheric processes in a Phoenix, AZ suburb.


The CAP LTER has been monitoring stormwater runoff at the outflow of the Indian Bend Wash to investigate stormwater dynamics and watershed functioning in aridland, urban environments.


The CAP LTER maintains two 10-m micrometeorological stations in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area, including at Lost Dutchman State Park and at Papago Park.

ASU has been working with regional water providers and metropolitan Phoenix cities since 1998 on algae-related issues affecting drinking water supplies, treatment, and distribution.