Welcome to our January 2019 Newsletter. We start the year’s storytelling by focusing on TERN successes. There is an unexpected story this month on how dogs are benefiting from TERN’s virtual desktop, CoESRA. We also learn how valuable TERN’s flux data is to the world as it assesses potential impacts of a warmer climate, while in northern Australia, we discover how the government is using TERN field protocols to monitor a uranium mine site’s rehabilitation. Then, we meet the ecoEd champions who are helping to educate and upskill the next generation of environmental scientists and managers.
This year marks TERN’s tenth anniversary and we are celebrating. Our plan is to meet with you more often; deliver more data products and tools; provide the training courses you ask for; and welcome more researchers to our field sites. The Advisory Board is already leading the way in meeting people. Its February meeting in Sydney includes a stakeholder breakfast and visits to other research infrastructure facilities. Planning is underway for two other Advisory Board meetings 2019, each in different cities: we will give you details in due course of where you can expect to meet the Advisory Board.
Over the past decade, we have come to recognise how valuable our regular newsletter stories have become in mapping the way in which Australian environmental scientists have embraced big data to deliver world-leading outcomes and impact. Thus, for our 10th anniversary, we are producing an index to past TERN newsletter stories so that you can search for people and topics. In a similar fashion, we are converting our year-by-year catalogue of TERN-related scientific publications into a searchable database based on themes, keywords and authors.
In 2019, one of our major goals is to make all the TERN data collections discoverable and accessible from our TERN Data Web Portal. The portal will provide a capability to search based on text, map and data services. To make this possible, the TERN data services and analytics team are busy redeveloping the data infrastructure to optimise its hosting of ecological and biogeophysical data collected by human and sensor observations, along with data products derived from satellite remote sensing and modelling. The team is developing the platform for integrating TERN-wide ecological data using a standard information model and its geospatial data publication processes, which comply with Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) standards, harmonise all the services. The datasets accessible from the web service interface will have an accompanying catalogue of contextual information.
If you are interested in shaping Australia’s plot-based field monitoring, you should register your interest in attending TERN’s 28 April - 5 May training workshop in South Australia. TERN has hundreds of plots across Australia through which it tracks the direction and magnitude of change in Australia’s environments. The workshop will strengthen the direction of research targeted at improving our infrastructure and consequently, determine scientific outputs, with environmental prediction and continental scale synthesis expected to be key themes. We value the work of our collaborators, both past, present, and future, and are excited about the contribution workshop attendees will make in further developing the potential of TERN Ecosystem Surveillance.
On the international front, TERN is supporting its overseas collaborators in their bid to secure National Science Foundation grants under NSF’s Accelerating Research through International Network-to-Network Collaborations program. This program calls for integration with international partner networks for student exchange, workshops on emerging syntheses and global priorities, and integrated training, etc. TERN is hoping that through its support for three grant proposals: (i) the Strategic Cooperation Council (SCC)/Open board of environmental research infrastructure, (ii) FLUXNET and (iii) the Critical Zone Observatory (CZO) network, there will be opportunities for Australian researchers to be involved in workshops or similar development opportunities.
Our busy year will also include some strategic planning with the new Director of the Atlas of Living Australia, Dr Andre Zerger, after he commences on 18 February – congratulations Andre! TERN and ALA will be looking forward to the release in May of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services’ assessment of Earth’s biodiversity and ecosystems. At a cost of US $2.4M, three years in the making and involving experts from 50 nations, the report aims to forecast the future of species on the planet under business-as-usual and other scenarios. Since this epic report is not yet available, we hope in the meantime that you enjoy reading this month’s newsletter.
Dr Beryl Morris
Published in TERN newsletter January 2019