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Features

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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Drug discovery from TERN soil samples

New research by New York’s Rockefeller University using TERN ecosystem samples and data is helping discover small molecules that are an important resource for new drug discovery, and the environmental conditions that favour their creation. The findings provide unprecedented insights into how best to conduct future surveys for natural product pharmaceutical discovery.

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Working with the community to collect data on raptors

A unique citizen science project utilising the data infrastructure of multiple NCRIS facilities, including TERN and the Atlas of Living Australia, is collecting and collating information on three iconic Australian raptor species to ensure their longevity. So, grab your camera and contribute to managing, understanding and protecting these spectacular birds of prey.

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People using TERN: Jen Peters

Hot, tired, thirsty, stressed? No so for Northern Australia’s unique savanna eucalypts which, according to new research using TERN’s Top End research infrastructure, stay cool and stress free even during the scorching dry season. But just how do they manage the stress and what will happen if dry seasons get longer, drier and hotter due to a changing climate? Read on to find out.

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Facilitating real research impact: TERN supports prestigious ARC Centres of Excellence

TERN infrastructure, open data and research services are being used by some of Australia’s most successful scientists, spread across many universities and institutions. Three Australian Research Council Centres of Excellence—Australia’s most prestigious foci of research expertise—rely on TERN to deliver world-leading climate science and vegetation biology; and make the most appropriate environmental decisions.

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Students provide comprehensive record of the reef

A new data repository has been launched that provides open access to in-depth environmental data collected as a result of education activities conducted on the Great Barrier Reef. Together with our partners we’re compiling a comprehensive record of the reef that researchers and regulatory agencies can use to monitor changes, and that anyone can use to learn more about this wonder of the natural world.

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Visualising a century of platypus sightings

Users and uses of TERN data are proving to be as diverse as the data themselves. Join us as we showcase one TERN user’s engaging visual data story of 100 years of platypus sightings using Tasmanian State Government data openly available via TERN.

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Australia’s ecosystem sample library

Australia’s national terrestrial ecosystems sample library has moved. Tens of thousands of soil and vegetation samples collected by TERN’s ecosystem surveillance monitoring are now housed at Waite and openly available for researchers to use.  Find out what’s available and how you can use the library to advance your research.

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Just part of the picture: camera traps reveal biodiversity at high-tech ecosystem observatories

TERN is revolutionising the way environmental change is monitored by creating an autonomous, wireless sensor network throughout Australia at its ecosystem observing sites. Remote camera traps, operating alongside time-lapse vegetation cameras, acoustic monitors and climate sensors, are helping researchers build complete pictures of biodiversity and providing early detection of environmental change. Join us as we share with you some of these remotely captured images.

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