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East Coast Australian Drosophila Transect  



The Drosophila Clinal Data Collection contains more than 15 years of data collected on populations of eight drosophilid species along the eastern coast of Australia. Clinal patterns arise when there are continuous changes in traits or genes over space. Clinal variation therefore provides a powerful approach to identifying traits and genes associated with environmental variation. The wide range of climatic conditions along the eastern Australian coast represents an outstanding natural laboratory for the study of traits and genes that are associated with climatic adaptation.

Research Infrastructure

The East Coast Australian Drosophila Transect (EADrosT) is a coastal transect running north from Hobart (400 mm mean annual rainfall) in Tasmania to Cooktown (2800 mm) in Queensland. It aims to monitor the dynamics of evolutionary adaptation to climate change in Drosophila flies along a temperate-to-tropical gradient; track species composition changes under climate change and understand driving forces; determine the genes and genetic processes underlying adaptive evolution; and track the speed of response to contemporary environmental change. Major research questions include:

  • How quickly can adaptive changes to different conditions evolve?
  • What is the role of average versus extreme conditions in dictating species ranges and range shifts?
  • What is the nature of genetic processes underlying climate change adaptation?


General location

Along the east coast of Australia, from Hobart in Tasmania to Cooktown in Queensland.

Research infrastructure themes

Shifts in genetic markers in response to climate

Drosophila species distribution shifts under climate change

Identification of ectotherm traits linked to thermal adaptation

Year Established

2003 (original sampling 1970s and 1980s)

Transect Length

4000 km

No. of plots


Rainfall Gradient (mean annual)

400 mm – 2800 mm

Data type

Drosophila species composition, quantitative traits and genes where appropriate, also other measures like endosymbionts

Temporal revisit (ideal)


TERN Facilities on the NATT

AusPlots; Australian Supersite Network; Long Term Ecological Research Network (LTERN); OzFlux



  • University of Melbourne
  • Monash University


Transect leader

Professor Ary Hoffmann




Papers and reports: http://adeer.pearg.com/biogs/DR00015b.htm

Data: http://adeer.pearg.com/

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