Instructions to Complete Luquillo Experimental Forest (LEF) LTER Documentation Forms

(Identifier, project title, project description, LTER Core Areas, LTER 1 Core areas, data files (subsets), Data File Identifier, On-line FileName, data file formatresearch location, investigators, sponsor, data set abstract, data set methods, data collection time period, references, cross-references, sample location, storage site, investigator-assigned keywords, lef-lter Official Keywords, Main Data Set Category, publications, dissemination, filing, sites description, GPS, variables, computational methods, person(s) completing this form )

1. DATA SET IDENTIFIER: A name that uniquely identifies and describes concisely the data set.

2. PROJECT TITLE: The name of the project under which the investigation is conducted.

3. PROJECT DESCRIPTION: A description (abstract) of the project under which the investigation is conducted.

4. LTER CORE AREA: One of the five LTER core areas in accordance to NSF's Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) program, namely,

(1) Patterns and control of primary productivity - Primary Productivity.
(2) Dynamics of populations of organisms selected to represent trophic structure - Population Dynamics.
(3) Pattern and control of organic matter accumulation in surface layers and sediments - Organic Matter Accumulation.
(4) Patterns of inorganic inputs and movements of nutrients through soils, groundwater and surface layers - Inorganic Inputs and Nutrient Movement.
(5) Patterns and frequency of disturbances - Disturbance Patterns.

The phrase in bold of the core area under which the project can be classified should be entered in this item.

5. LEF LTER 1 RESEARCH TOPIC: The study area under which the investigation is conducted as described in our LTER proposal to NSF. The major areas are:

(1) Disturbance regime. (Disturbance)
(2) Recovery after disturbance. (Recovery)

a. Environmental properties. (Recovery-Env. Props.)
b. Nutrient Storage. (Recovery-Nut. Storage)
c. Soil organic matter formation.(Recovery-SOM Form.)
d. Litter breakdown.(Recovery-Litter Brkdwn.)
e. Gap revegetation.(Recovery-Gap Reveg.)
f. Spatial and temporal distribution of population.(Recovery-Spat. Dist.)
g. System properties.(Recovery-Syst. Props.)

(3) Environmental monitoring.(Recovery-Env. Mon.)


6. DATA FILES (SUBSETS) : A list of all the data files that constitute the data set.

Data File No. Use these numbers when discribing the variables (see 23 bellow).
Data File Identifier A descriptive name of the file.
On-Line Filename The name of the computer file (eg., lses1lar.db)
Starting Date The date the first data were gathered
Periodicity of sample Frequency of data gathering
End Period The date in which the last data were gathered


a. Locations of the sites: Identification of the location of the research sites at a level of detail that permits other investigators to identify the location.
b.GEOGRAPHICAL POSITIONAL SYSTEM (GPS) COORDINATES FOR EACH LOCATION:For each location, give the Longitude and Latitude of each research location.


a. PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: Name of the person responsible for the research that generates the data.
b. OTHER RESEARCHERS: Names of other persons responsible for various phases of data collection or analysis.
c. CONTACT PERSON: Name of the person to contact for permission to use, if restricted, or obtain information from.
d. E-MAIL ADDRESSES: The complete electronic address (user@host format; eg.,
e. PHONE NUMBERS: The complete telephone number including the area code (eg., (787)767-0350).

9. SOURCE OF FUNDING  (SPONSOR): Financial source. (e.g. NSF LTER Program)
10. DATA SET ABSTRACT: Abstract of the data set (if differerent from the project's description). Describes how the variables measured in the data set contribute to achieve the scientific goals of the project.
11. DATA SET METHODS: Description of the methods used to collect and analyze the data (eg., experimental design, field and laboratory methods) and the type of analysis used. Indicate specialized software used if any.
12. DATA COLLECTION TIME PERIOD : The period and periodicity and major temporal gaps or anomalies in the pattern of data collection. If the periodicity is seasonal (eg.,  rainy season) please indicate the range of months the data is collected.

a. STARTING DATE: Exact date when data collection began (use mm/dd/yyyy format).
b. PERIODICITY OF SAMPLE: frequency of data collection (eg.,  twice a year).
END PERIOD: date or period of time in which the investigator will cease/ceased  gathering data for this data set (use mm/dd/yyyy format).

13. REFERENCES : Complete citations of publications, technical reports or grant proposals that were followed for methods, identifications of species and/or site locations.

14. CROSS-REFERENCES : Reference to other data sets (catalogued and non-catalogued) that are related to this data set.

15. SAMPLE LOCATION : Exact location where the samples, if any, where taken for analysis and/or stored. If no sample where taken write N/A for non-applicable.

16. STORAGE SITE : A complete description of the location where the data set will be filed. This item should be completed by the investigator (giving the location where the original copy of the data set is) and by the Data Manager, indicating the location where the copy of the data set is filed (including cabinet and drawer number). If the data is entered in the computer, the file names and the directories should be specified.

17. KEYWORDS : a list of words that give a clue to the subject matter.

18. PUBLICATIONS : List of publications that use or cite this data set.


19. DISSEMINATION : Check the proper item.

RESTRICTED - the data will be released to individuals only after receiving written permission from both the data set investigator and one of the Luquillo Experimental Forest principal investigators. The investigator should specify any particularity of their restriction in this entry. If "restricted", the Data Management Committee, composed by J. Zimmerman, A. Lugo, D.J. Lodge, R. Waide, and N. Brokaw will have to appove it.

UNRESTRICTED - the data can be released to any person without permission of the investigator or the principal investigators.

a. REASONS : a complete statement of why this data set should not follow our Data Management Policy, and its release should be extended.

20. FILING :
"File" copy only - If DM will only receive, archive, and publish the data on the Web. A copy sent by the investigator to DM will be then filed in the LUQ Intranet ("common management workframe") and in the Internet according to  our Data Management Policy.

"Enter" data on-line - check this item if the data is to be entered in the computer in addition to the filing as described above. If this is the case, the investigator in charge should contact the Data Manager and set an appointment to coordinate this according to the resources available at DM.

21.CHECKLIST : a summarized checklist of the documentation required for submitting a data set to the LEF Data Manager. Just a reminder, nothing has to be entered here.

22SITE DESCRIPTION : The exact locations and specific descriptions of the plots or areas where the observations were taken.

23. VARIABLES (attributes):

File Name (or numbers as in 6 above) - Enter all the file names (or numbers as in 6 above) where this variable appears.

Abbreviation(s) - a list of the abbreviations that may be found on the data files identifying the specified variable.

(NAME) Name of variable - a short description of the measurements that occupies the specified variable.

Definition of variable - A definition of the variable in ecological terms.

Unit of Measurement -  Indicate the unit of measurement using no abbreviations. Whenever possible follow the EML standards ( for Units (see Unit Dictionary directly) or you may search for additional LTER sites' registered units (subject to approval) with The LTER EML Unit Registry Project.

Precision of measurment - Give error bounds and explain what they refer to (e.g. that of determinations by an instrument, among replicate samples at a single location, among locations within a given area, etc.).

Range or list of variables -  The minimum and maximum values, or for categorical variables, a list of the possible variables or a reference to a file that list them.

Data type - The format specification of the data found in the specified column. The different types could be:

a. Alphanumeric - a collection of numbers, letters or special characters that describe the observation done.
b. Numeric|integer - all the fields within this column contain only integers.
c. Numeric|decimal - a number with significant digits to the right of the decimal point
d. Logical- true or false; yes or no; 1 or 2
e. Date - all the fields within this column contain only dates.
d. Other - all other types that are not defined herwith or defined in a computer program procedure. Give more details under "Observatsions".

Choose the type whose definition closely resembles that of your computer program. If the data file was computer generated then the type of datum should be the same as declared or specified in the computer program used, and shorts explanations of the types should be specified under "Observations" of this entry.

Observations - Any particular comment regarding the format, measurements, etc. of the data file.

Missing data codes A list of codes that identify how missing data is coded on the data file (e.g. empty space, dashes, zeros) such that a missing data can be differentiated from a measured value of zero (e.g. 0.0).

25.COMPUTATIONAL METHODS : Algorithms or formulas that were used to derive this variable from others (if applicable).  Please use variable names as entered above (23 ).

26.DATA FILE FORMAT (Entities): the computer software or the file type of the data file that will be filed with Data Management at Luquillo. Most common examples are: MS EXCEL 2000, QPRO 2000, ASCII comma delimited, ASCII Tab delimited, PARADOX 2000. If non ASCII, include the version of the computer software .

27Main Data Set Category: Select only one category from the list, under which your data set most closely fit in.
Categories are:

Nutrient and Carbon Dynamics
Vegetation Dynamics
Animal Population Dynamics
Biological Diversity
Maps and Photos

28LEF LTER Official List of Keywords: Under each of the listed categories of keywords select one. Enter a new one under "other"when the best does not exist in the list. (See List)

29. PERSON(S) COMPLETING THIS FORM:  This is the person who is providing the metadata. The metadata provider could be a student, a technician, a scientist or a group of people that provides the information included in this metadata form. I more than one person is involved in this, additional rows should be added to this table specifying who these persons are with their email. This is very important in the event of missing information or the need to clarify the information provided.


Rev. 25 August 2000/8 November 2005/28 March 2007