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Features

TERN NASA global climate project blasts off

Another collaboration has blasted off between NASA and TERN that’s set to dramatically improve global climate monitoring. NASA’s ECOSTRESS mission to the International Space Station launched from Cape Canaveral last week, providing critical climate data to scientists, helping them have a better understanding of how crops, the biosphere and the global carbon cycle respond to water availability and drought.

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The impact of climate change on South Australia’s flora

A new synthesis has identified the implications of climate change for South Australia’s plant species and the state’s biodiversity. What does a warmer future mean for SA’s plants, including its 418 endemic species? Can plants adapt to environmental change, or will they eventually be driven to local extinction? Read on to get the answers to these questions and more as the researchers discuss their findings.

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Stepping stones to better climate models

New research from Australia’s prestigious Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science has laid down some vital stepping stones for further improving the models we rely on for future climate predictions. By providing model-ready data on southern hemisphere ecosystems, TERN has enabled this global scale analysis that provides important benchmarks for evaluating the predictability of climate models.

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A national mangrove observing system

In a giant leap towards the creation of Australia’s first nationwide mangrove observing system, TERN has provided open access to decades of historical and newly acquired field and Earth observation data. These data alert scientists and managers to environmental change, allow them to understand the causes and impacts of this change to sustainably manage our valuable mangrove ecosystems, and enhance Australia’s contribution to the global Sustainable Development Goals.

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Australia’s new Threatened Species Index: the ASX of conservation

Just as the ASX 200 tracks the trend of the financial world, Australia will soon have its own index for monitoring the trajectory of its threatened species. As the first of its type in the world, the index will provide reliable and robust measures of changes in biodiversity to support more coherent and transparent reporting and protection of threatened species.

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People helping TERN: our fantastic volunteers

Join us in celebrating National Volunteer Week with a special thank you to all our field and lab volunteers who have already contributed over 2,000 hours in 2018. Meet some of them and find out how you too can help deliver our environmental research infrastructure and gain indispensable research skills and experience.

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New science shows ‘a little dirt never hurt’

It’s something that parents all over the world have suspected forever, but now the benefits of playing in the dirt have been backed by science. In fact, new research using TERN data and tools indicates that exposure to the right kind of soil actually benefits human health at the population level and reduces our collective risk of sickness.

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People using TERN: Ashlea Doolette

Every year our farmers apply many tonnes of expensive fertiliser because Australia’s soils are naturally deficient in phosphorus. To help reduce this reliance on fertiliser, Dr Ashlea Doolette from the University of Adelaide is using TERN to learn from our ‘phosphorus-efficient’ native plants and develop novel approaches that could save our agricultural industries millions of dollars every year.

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Australia’s newest globally consistent ecosystem map

Ecosystem maps allow managers to craft strategies that ensure that our unique ecosystems and their services are not lost. Unfortunately, however, there is no consistent way of mapping ecosystems across nations and jurisdictions. Thankfully, this is set to change courtesy of TERN and the University of Adelaide who have remapped the characteristics of Australia's ecosystems using nationally and globally consistent methods.

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Australians unlock their gates to ecosystem surveys

With almost 600 ecosystem observing sites nation-wide it's inevitable that some TERN infrastructure is hosted on private or community property. To thank Australia's participating landholders for unlocking their gates, TERN has delivered summary reports for over 150 private and pastoral properties, conservation reserves, and NRM regions. The reports provide key data for each property or region and represent an invaluable resource to private landholders and land management authorities alike.

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Forecasting nature just as we forecast the weather?

Just like the weather forecasts we all take for granted, can we create a reliable a ‘nature forecast’ to help us better understand, manage and conserve ecosystems? Get ready for ecological forecasting! The shift from conception to actively building collaborations that span international boundaries, ecological scale and observation systems has begun. Read on to hear how the world’s environmental observatories are integrating for ecological forecasting.

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Spotting the signals of climate adaptation

Why are some plants able to grow across multiple ecosystems and others not? Does this flexibility make them more adaptable to climate change? Meet the team of scientists who are investigating these questions and providing vital insights into predicting plants’ responses to climate change and how to revegetate degraded landscapes more successfully. 

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People using TERN: Rachael Nolan

New research on two of Australia’s most iconic and widespread trees—the river red gum and mulga—is helping solve the puzzle of how they’re able to coexist in some of the nation’s hottest and driest environments. The results have major implications for how we manage our arid ecosystems and their groundwater resources and also for helping balance Australia’s carbon budget. 

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Data Update – February 2018

Showcasing new and recently updated data openly available via TERN repositories. This month we feature plant trait and vegetation data collected along NSW's Biodiversity and Adaptation Transect Sydney, which forms part of TERN’s national network of large-scale transect-based research infrastructure.

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Sustaining Australia’s critical alpine zone: new ecosystem surveillance plots supplement seven decades of monitoring

Camped on the top of the Australian Alps a team of ecologists is beating the heat and sampling Australia’s critical yet fragile alpine ecosystems. The soil and vegetation data they collect will supplement a 70-year-long dataset and provide ecologists and land managers with the information they need to ensure the sustainability of our unique alpine environment and the ecosystem services it provides.

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Predicting bushfire danger from space

As Australia swelters through another hot summer with several large fires affecting different parts of the country, a team of researchers is busily creating the first national-scale, live fuel moisture content and flammability monitoring system. The new satellite-based technology is a potential game changer through the delivery of more efficient and effective bushfire preparedness and management across Australia.

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Shape of our future environment: a report from Ecosystem Science Council

The future can be what we make it, but only if we plan and act accordingly. The Ecosystem Science Council is Australia’s peak body to implement Foundations for the future: a long-term plan for Australian ecosystem science. Here we provide some highlights from an interview with Council Chair, Professor Glenda Wardle of The University of Sydney, about the work of the Ecosystem Science Council over the past year.

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When weeds are good

New science has shown that there can be a positive relationship between weeds and native plant biodiversity in grassland ecosystems, debunking some long-held assumptions that underpin common weed management practices. We hear from the paradigm-busting scientists who are changing the way we consider the threats of weeds to biodiversity.

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Collaborative ecology across the Tasman: #EcoTAS17 highlights

Were you at December's joint conference of the Ecological Society of Australia and the New Zealand Ecological Society? For those who couldn’t make EcoTas17, and those keen to re-live the week, we take a virtual tour of the action as we showcase just some of the conference highlights (and fashion!) via Twitter.

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Data Update – December 2017

Showcasing new and recently updated data openly available via TERN repositories, including researcher submitted data on the habitats and predator-prey interactions of desert-dwelling marsupials and spiders; and long-term monitoring data on the fauna of NT’s Top End National Parks.

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