An armchair tour of Australia’s ecosystems

When it comes to describing the geography of the world’s ecosystems the terminology can get a little confusing.  From broadest to smallest scale, there are ecozones, biomes, ecoregions, bioregions and finally, ecosystems.

Australia, in the Australasian ecozone, has eight terrestrial biomes, 40 ecoregions and 89 bioregions.

Never mind the terminology, to study and understand the unique and complex ecological and bio-geophysical processes occurring at all these scales requires an equally exceptional and multifaceted national-scale observation network.

Through sound forethought, planning and strategic federal government investment, TERN’s national network of infrastructure has ecological observatories in all of Australia’s biomes and the majority of ecoregions.

Covering all states and territories and spanning a wide range of environmental conditions, TERN’s comprehensive infrastructure network is able to collect and provide quality data on a wide range of subjects and help answer the big environmental issues affecting the nation today.

We’re not all lucky enough to be able to visit all of Australia’s beautiful ecosystems, but a new piece of technology is delivering them to your doorstep.  A specially modified smartphone provided to Dr Peter Scarth for winning the 2013 Geo for Good Summit photosphere contest is travelling TERN’s monitoring sites capturing amazing 360-degree photospheres of our unique ecosystems.

Using Google Views come take a tour of some of Australia’s biomes via TERN’s national monitoring observatories…

Karawatha, SEQ Periurban SuperSite – Temperate broadleaf and mixed forests biome


Calperum Mallee SuperSite – Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and scrub biome.  Note: This photosphere was taken just after a fire event at the site.


Tumbarumba Wet Eucalypt SuperSite – Temperate broadleaf and mixed forests biome

The photosphere smartphone is currently at TERN’s Warra Tall Eucalypt SuperSite in Tasmania. Images from Warra will soon be available alongside a variety of other images. 

Published in TERN newsletter October 2014

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