AEKOS: Your gateway to Australian ecology data

A new version of TERN AEKOS makes it easier for users to search and download diverse, well-described, Australia-wide ecological data from a single point of entry. Find out what’s new then come explore almost 100000 sites of published plot data.

Click here to search, download and publish data with AEKOS

What’s new in AEKOS
  • New look user interface makes AEKOS easier to learn and use.
  • Significantly improved data downloading with eight themed CSV files and instructions.
  • Opt in to complexity. Everything is simple in AEKOS until you ask for more power/complexity.

TERN’s Advanced Ecological Knowledge and Observation System (AEKOS) is a world-leading ecosystem data service that provides open access to huge amounts of previously unavailable scientific data to support and extend terrestrial ecosystem science, education and management.

AEKOS permits storage, preservation and access to the full richness of species and environment data, including collection methodologies and photos. Alongside this it facilitates data publishing for re-use and citation.

AEKOS provides access to high quality, scientific survey data from close to 100,000 sties; over 1200 datasets of surveys with complete metadata; and Australia-wide in-situ species and environment data.

The AEKOS system also houses a large number of critical state and territory government survey and monitoring datasets.

TERN is pleased to announce the launch of a new, improved version of AEKOS that has been developed together with users to allow easier data searching and downloading.

Easy to use interface

First up, AEKOS has a new, easy to use interface, that users will find similar to well-known real estate and car sales sites. Users can now choose to conduct simple key word searches or more faceted searches based on species, survey date or a variety of ecosystem themes.

Dr Chantal Huijbers of Griffith University and the Biodiversity & Climate Change Virtual Laboratory, is an early user of the new AEKOS and says that the changes significantly improve usability.

“It is easy to find your way around, and to drill down into the many datasets,” says Chantal. “The list with refinements is good, and helps to quickly find datasets related to the aspect that you are looking for, such as area, project, measured variable etc.”

Easy data downloads

Data downloading from AEKOS has also been significantly improved. In addition to ‘site by species abundance’ shapefile downloads, eight themed CSV files with user instructions—that easily import into spread-sheet, database and statistical software— have been made available:

  • Site details – data around the site visit.
  • Individual Plants – data on individual plants as well as other attributes related to individuals.
  • Vegetation Populations – population characteristics on vegetation as well as other population-related attributes.
  • Vegetation Communities – structural and compositional data on vegetation communities as well as other community-related attributes.
  • Soil Features – soil-related attributes.
  • Landscape Feature – data of the physical characteristics of the site and its surrounding landscape as well as other landscape-related attributes.
  • Individual Animals – morphological, health and blood data on individual animals as well as other attributes related to individuals.
  • Fauna Populations – animal trapping data as well as other population-related attributes.

All CSV files are usable in R, or similar statistical/modelling tools, with a unique AEKOS persistent identifier for referencing the data. For each CSV file, almost all of the associated ecology attributes are provided for relevant sub-setting offline in your preferred tool. For those who prefer to download the data provided in all the CSV flat files as a relational database file, H2 downloads are offered.

The ethos of the new AEKOS is “opt in to complexity.”  Everything is simple until you ask for more power and complexity.

Published in TERN newsletter November 2016

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