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Ecosystem Processes

TERN's Ecosystem Processes platform monitors the environment at a high level of detail at a small number of sites. This is done through intensive field stations or ‘SuperSites’ which combine instrumented or sensor measurements with classical field surveys and remote sensing activities at the sites located in significant Australian biomes, spanning a wide range of environmental conditions.

Ecosystem Processes data are derived from periodic field surveys and in-situ sensors operated continuously at a local scale.

OzFlux towers measure gas exchange between the ecosystem and atmosphere and such measures are integrated with detailed field observations of vegetation and soils from 12 intensive SuperSites such that measures and observations of the drivers of change in ecosystems are made possible.



Watching over our incredible eucalypt ecosystems: Australia's land observatory from TERN Australia on Vimeo.


Data and Tools

TERN Ecosystem Processes capability's suite of infrastructure includes tools that assist researchers to undertake their work more effectively. The capability delivers:

  • Micrometeorological observations of energy, carbon and water exchanges between the atmosphere and key Australian ecosystems; and
  • Biological and environmental observations of flora, fauna, microbial biodiversity, soils, and hydrology. 

TERN OzFlux data streams and products:

        Meteorology         Energy Balance        Water Balance        Carbon Balance
  • Soil temperature
  • Air temperature
  • Air relative humidity
  • Wind speed & direction
  • Rainfall*
  • Net radiation*
  • Incoming/outgoing
    shortwave/longwave radiation
  • Sensible heat flux ¥¥
  • Soil heat flux ¥¥
  • Net radiation*

  • H2O concentration
  • Rainfall*
  • Latent heat flux ¥¥
  • Soil moisture
  • Total evaporation ¥¥
  • Water-use efficiency* ¥¥
  • CO2 concentration
  • Net ecosystem exchange ¥¥
  • Gross primary productivity ¥¥
  • Net ecosystem respiration ¥¥
  • Water use efficiency* ¥¥

* Note that a Data Stream can form part of more than one Data Product.
¥¥ Modelled Data product requiring 
labour-intensive post-processing (undertaken by PIs and TERN OzFlux). All other Data Streams are provided in real time on at least an hourly basis.


TERN SuperSites data:

        Biodiversity         Carbon & Water        Cover
  • Acoustic sensors (daily)
  • Bird surveys
  • Vegetation species list
  • Vegetation floristic surveys*
  • Soil microbial biodiversity^#

  • DBH (5 yr)
  • Stem height (5 yr)
  • Stem mapping (5 yr)
  • Standing Above Ground Biomass
  • Wood decomposition (5 yr)
  • Aquifer depth sensors (hourly) #
  • Water flow sensors (hourly) #
  • Water quality sensors (hourly) #
  • Soil moisture (Cosmos) (daily) #
  • Photopoints (annual)
  • Phenocam sensors (hourly)
  • Leaf Area Index (6 monthly)
  • Ground cover (5 yr)*
  • Vegetation cover (5 yr)*


* Includes surveys carried out by TERN Ecosystem Surveillance platform
** Surveys carried out by TERN Landscape Assessment platform
# Measurements collected at a 
sub-set of sites
@ Measurements provided by OzFlux instrumentation

^ Data collected in collaboration with Bioplatforms Australia as part of the Biome of Australia Soil Environments (BASE) project.



Our OzFlux infrastructure and data >

Our SuperSites infrastructure and data >


Find Out More

To find out more about our Ecosystem Processes infrastructure and services for the ecosystem science community, you can

Visit the interim TERN OzFlux website >

Visit the interim TERN SuperSites website >



TERN Ecosystem Processes main office

James Cook University

P.O. Box 6811

Cairns QLD 4870



TERN Ecosystem Processes Transition Team

Will Edwards (JCU Lead Investigator Ecosystem Processes)
Suzanne Prober (TERN Executive Group and Project Leader for Great Western Woodlands SuperSite)
Mirko Karan (Ecosystem Processes Project Coordination)
Peter Grace (Project Leader for Mitchell Grass Rangeland SuperSite and SEQ Peri-urban SuperSite)
Peter Brady (TERN Project Manager) 

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