Biological field stations in North America have significant potential for addressing the most pressing environmental challenges facing science and society. Many of these field stations are now actively engaged in research networks and developing environmental observatory networks. The Resource Discovery Initiative for Field Stations (RDIFS) represents a research coordination network developed to enhance data management capacity and better position field stations for the critical role they are to play in addressing environmental challenges. The RDIFS developed information resources and training programs to facilitate storage, discovery, and access to data and information that are collectively held at North American biological field stations. In this article, we highlight the capabilities and needs of biological field stations, identify specific data management challenges faced by field stations, describe the products of the RDIFS effort, and provide insight into the future of data management at field stations, especially in relation to participation in environmental observatory networks.
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Vol. 59 • No. 6