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Central Arizona - Phoenix LTER - CAP


LTER Sites > Central Arizona - Phoenix LTER

NSF Award(s) DEB-0423704 , DEB-9714833 , BCS-1026865 (View all sites)

The Central Arizona-Phoenix Long-Term Ecological Research (CAP LTER) project is one of 26 LTER sites funded by the National Science Foundation. Launched in 1997 along with the Baltimore Ecosystem Study (BES) as the first urban LTER sites, CAP LTER has been instrumental in establishing urban ecology as a recognized and important area of ecological inquiry.
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Contact Information
Site Contacts
Principal Investigator: Daniel Childers
Primary Contact: Mark Watkins
Information Mgr: Stevan Earl
Education Contact: Lisa Herrmann
Graduate Student Representative: Megan Wheeler
Social Science Representative: Christopher Boone
Climate Science Representative: David Hondula
Communication Representative: Mark Watkins
Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability
Arizona State University
PO BOX 875402
Tempe, AZ 85287-5402 USA
Phone: (480) 965-2975
Fax: (480) 965-8087
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Site History
Urbanization of the arid regions of the Southwest US is a comparatively recent phenomenon, with its meteoric expansion largely coming after World War II. In the 1995 US Census, 8 of the 10 fastest-growing cities and 6 of the fastest-growing metropolitan areas were in the arid Southwest.

Arizona has been the second fastest-growing state for the past six years, with Phoenix as its capital and the largest city in the Southwest. The Phoenix metropolitan area's spectacular growth in population — doubling twice in the past 35 years — and its rapid and continuing expansion into former agricultural and pristine settings provides a unique opportunity to monitor human-induced ecological transformations, resulting from rapid land-use transformations.

Research Topics
CAP LTER is a multi-disciplinary, urban ecological investigation of the socio-ecological systems in central Arizona. The central research question that guides the project’s research is: How do the services provided by evolving urban ecosystems affect human outcomes and behavior, and how does human action (responses) alter patterns of ecosystem structure and function, and ultimately, urban sustainability, in a dynamic environment? To address this question, the CAP LTER project relies on data from five foundational research areas and analyses conducted in four integrative project areas. In addition, CAP conducts synthesis activities across all project areas, focusing on results from the first 12 years of CAP research, as well as activities to construct scenarios of future change in Central Arizona.
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Institutional Affiliations Research Sites
Site Location
Lat: +33.42700 | Long. -111.93300

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Climate Info.
Annual High Mean Low
Temperature 40.8 c 22.6c 5.4c
Precipitation 386 mm/year 210 mm/year 106 mm/year