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TERN expands climatic monitoring program in Australian first

By on 12 June, 2018

TERN’s ecosystem surveillance platform field team. Image supplied by TERN.

Australia’s Terrestrial Ecosystems Research Network (TERN) has added 27 new monitoring sites to its existing regime, comprising some of the first nationally consistent data collection sites in a unique climatic region.

TERN established 11 permanent monitoring sites across eight distinct NSW bioregions in May, spanning the New England Tableland, Nandewar and Brigalow Belt South areas. These sites are in a unique area in which temperate and arid bioregions overlap with attendant, unique populations of flora and fauna.

The new sites are part of TERN’s latest field campaign in the organisations broader ecosystem surveillance platform, which provides a suite of data sources and analytics tools to monitor Australia’s major ecosystems from a network of 625 monitoring sites.

The new monitoring sites will provide the first data and samples from this cross-over region to be collected and made available in a nationally-consistent manner — allowing a range of analysis and research questions that were previously impossible.

Facilitating comparisons of different populations of the same species, in different climactic regions and potentially massive distances apart is one type of analysis enabled by the TERN ecosystem surveillance platform, and the new survey sites bolster the spatial representation of the massive dataset being assembled.

The TERN ecosystem surveillance team worked with volunteers and not-for-profit conservation entities to establish the site and initial surveys, including Bush Heritage Australia in Boolcoomatta, South Australia, and Narree in NSW, as well as the Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC) in NSW’s New England region.

“Co-locating research sites enables us to use TERN data and samples to inform the outcomes of our Pilliga mammal reintroduction project, which forms part of the NSW Government’s Saving our Species program,” said Jeanette Kemp, an ecologist with the AWC.

Data is collected at each site with TERN’s mobile survey app AuScribe, and the entire project turns on close collaboration with local conservation groups and government agencies in the regions hosting the data collection and monitoring sites.

Data from the 625 TERN Ecosystem Surveillance plots are now openly available via TERN’s data discovery portal, with soil and plant samples are made available in the TERN ecosystem sample library.

Ecologists on site collect data with TERN’s AuScribe mobile app. Image supplied by TERN.

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