Director’s Update – July 2022

TERN is presently working on updating its industry engagement plan, in line with the 2021 National Research Infrastructure Roadmap recommendations, and we are delighted this month to showcase two exciting stories that highlight TERN’s growing impact with industry and government. Industry engagement will be a major topic of discussion at the upcoming TERN Advisory Board meeting and we look forward to sharing more on this in our next newsletter.

Welcome everyone to our July newsletter – with winter chills, illness, floods, and other less cheery events challenging Australians at present, we hope our stories will bring some warmth.  For example, you must check out the article contributed by Ruby E. Stephens from Macquarie University. Ruby’s story gives a first-hand account of wrangling data to answer questions for her PhD research on how community flowering patterns relate to climate, and especially climate predictability. Deservedly, the associated journal paper by Ruby and her colleagues was the Editors’ Choice article in the July edition of the Journal of Biogeography.

If you are doing research using TERN data, why not follow Ruby’s example and share your story and photos in our newsletter?  Just send them to and we will follow up with you.

There are two exciting stories in the newsletter that highlight TERN’s continuing industry and government engagement.  First is the collaborative work led by Professor Peter Grace and Associate Professor David Rowlings at the Queensland University of Technology with industry partners, which draws upon TERN flux and data infrastructure to understand questions around soil carbon sequestration.  The second is about the New South Wales government’s extensive forest-monitoring data, which are now hosted by TERN. The data include invaluable structural, imaging, and acoustic information essential for understanding forest processes. This is the first time TERN and a state government agency have collaborated on the sharing of long-term forest monitoring data.

TERN data users now have access to two new long-term data resources: above-ground woody biomass and phenology camera records, both collected since 2012.  These are an amazing resource and the data collection is ongoing. In the case of the phenocam data, the new data set TERN is publishing includes nearly 600,000 legacy and real-time phenocam images, recorded via 63 TERN phenocams across 18 SuperSites that TERN samples regularly.  TERN is continuing to add to its phenocam network.

Our other newsletter story this month focuses on key vertebrate pest species prevalent in Australia for which TERN, in a collaboration with the Australian Government, is preparing standard monitoring protocols. The pests are rabbits, four species of deer, goats, feral pigs, cats, wild dogs, and foxes. Many of these pests are very widespread and their large ranges transcend state and territory borders, necessitating a standardised national data-collection approach.

Before I close for the month, we congratulate Ken Brook from the Queensland Department of Environment and Science as he retires following a career of more than 40 years. Among the impactful environmental initiatives and systems associated with Ken in his remarkable career is the Long Paddock website, providing climate and pasture information to the grazing community since 1995; SILO (Scientific Information for Land Owners) – a database of Australian climate data from 1889 (current to yesterday); and AussieGRASS – an advanced spatial water balance and plant growth model associated with pasture growth.

We wish you all happy reading and look forward to catching up again next month.

Dr Beryl Morris, TERN Australia Director
Dr Beryl Morris, Director - TERN Australia

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