The Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network (TERN) is Australia’s land ecosystem observatory. We measure key terrestrial ecosystem attributes over time from continental scale to field sites at hundreds of representative locations and openly provide model-ready data that enable researchers to detect and interpret changes in land ecosystems. TERN’s Ecosystem Processes platform monitors the environment at a high level of detail at a small number of representative sites. This is done through intensive field SperSites, 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.
TERN SuperSites are Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) sites co-located with TERN eddy covariance flux towers, which deliver biological and environmental observations of flora, fauna, microbial biodiversity, soils and hydrology. TERN flux towers delivers micrometeorological observations of energy, carbon and water exchange between the atmosphere and key Australian ecosystems. Each TERN SuperSite is located in a significant Australian biome and the network spans a wide range of environmental conditions. The SuperSite network collects detailed data sets on flora, fauna and biophysical processes from each SuperSite.
History of the development of the TERN SuperSites
TERN's network of SuperSites began in 2009, by augmenting existing hardware and field programs at two existing long-term ecological research stations, the Daintree Rainforest Observatory (JCU) and Samford Ecological Research Facility (QUT). In 2011 several additional SuperSites were also developed from existing field stations, while other SuperSites were developed from scratch at carefully chosen locations in biomes of significance. Each new SuperSite required significant co-contributions from the managing institution, state and territories and involvement of land management stakeholders. Each site was required to be situated in a different and significant Australian biome with suitable terrain to host an eddy co-variance tower to feed data into OzFlux, the TERN-supported flux research community.
Affiliate SuperSites are those that are not directly supported by TERN funded but continue to provide open, long-term monitoring data to TERN, following standardised protocols where possible. These include the Daintree Rainforest SuperSite - Cape Tribulation and Cow Bay nodes, Samford Peri-urban SuperSite and Whroo Dry Eucalypt SuperSite. SuperSites that are no longer collecting and sharing open data will be listed as inactive SuperSites.
Australian ecosystem monitoring sites that are willing to provide open data (historical and ongoing) and collect standardised datasets (where possible) may apply to join the network as Affiliate SuperSites.
Each SuperSite is led by a Principal Investigator and a deputy leader that also belong to the SuperSites Scientific Advisory Council (SSAC) that meets three to four times a year. All major network-wide decisions are derived through consultation with the SSAC.