Field Sample Library

Tens of thousands of soil samples, soil metagenomic samples, plant voucher specimens and plant genetic material collected from TERN’s national network of over 700 ecosystem surveillance sites are now openly available to interested researchers.

Soil samples are held by TERN’s Ecosystem Surveillance platform at the University of Adelaide.

Plant samples collected by TERN are contributed to commonwealth, state and regional herbaria across Australia, with some samples stored by TERN’s Ecosystem Surveillance platform.

To discuss opportunities to use our samples please contact us, or download a specimen loan application form.

What's available?

Updated July 2020

  • Plant voucher specimens – 44,506
    Representing about about 23.5% of Australia’s vascular flora. Voucher specimens of all vascular plant species are collected at each plot. Voucher specimens are identified and lodged at the identifying herbarium, the Australian National Herbarium, or at the TERN Ecosystem Surveillance facility at the University of Adelaide.
  • Leaf tissue samples – 58 858
    These curated samples are available to be used in molecular analysis, stable isotopic analysis, biochemical work, and ecophysiology and functional ecology research. All plant tissue samples are identified by a herbarium botanist, resolvable to a vouchered specimen, rapidly dried to preserve DNA and stored in synthetic gauze at the TERN Ecosystem Surveillance facility at the University of Adelaide.
  • Soil samples – 21,000 500g samples
    Soil characterisations are available, including soil classification, bulk density, pH and salinity. Soil samples (to 1m) are also available for additional analysis.
  • Soil metagenomics samples – 7911
    Soil samples for metagenomic analysis are collected from 9 sub-sites at each plot. Metagenomics is the study of genetic material recovered directly from environmental samples. Soil metagenomics provides the opportunity to understand what organisms are present at survey plots and provides an indication on their abundance.

A guide to using our samples

TERN samples are freely available to the international scientific community to conduct research, however when you use them we ask that you acknowledge NCRIS-enabled TERN.

This simple step lets TERN record that its infrastructure is being used, generating important outputs and outcomes, helping TERN to continue being funded and available to you.

For more information on how to acknowledge TERN and NCRIS in publications and self-report your use of TERN click here

To discuss opportunities to use our samples please contact us, or download a specimen loan application form.