The SEQ Peri-urban SuperSite was TERN funded from 2009 - 2017. In 2018 the TERN SEQ Peri-Urban resources were redirected to initiating the development of the Mitchell Grass Rangeland SuperSite. From 2018 the SEQ Peri-urban SuperSite - Samford node becomes an Affiliate SuperSite that maintains the flux tower data streams and will deliver other (non-TERN funded) data where possible. The Karawatha node becomes an Inactive SuperSite.
The SEQ Peri-urban SuperSite’s core infrastructure is located along two longitudinal transects north and south of Brisbane where the urban footprint is expanding the most rapidly.
The Pine transect to the north of Brisbane extends from the upper reaches of the Pine River catchment through Samford Valley to Central Moreton Bay.
It focuses on the impact of urban development and low frequency, high flow (ephemeral) events on terrestrial biogeochemistry and downstream east-west transect in recent years and will complement hydrological and biogeochemistry monitoring.
Rapid population growth in SEQ is expected to continue particularly in peri-urban areas.
The development, transformation of land use and exploitation of resources associated with this population growth will intensify the pressure on catchment, aquatic and coastal environments, potentially leading to significant habitat fragmentation, water quality issues, biodiversity loss and loss of economic and amenity values. The vulnerability of SEQ’s high biodiversity ecosystems will be compounded by climate change in the region.
The two nodes of the SEQ Peri-urban SuperSite in the Samford Valley (Samford-Peri-Urban) and the Albert Logan (Karawatha Peri-Urban) provide contrasting catchments for assessing the impact of urbanisation on water quantity, quality and biodiversity and are applicable to many locations in coastal Australia.
The SEQ Peri-urban SuperSite will assess the impact of urbanisation, development and subsequent fragmentation of the landscape on selected terrestrial and aquatic biogeochemical processes and their impact on faunal biodiversity and overall ecosystem health.
It will integrate existing data and deploy infrastructure to both complement and automate acquisition of key environmental data within SEQ catchments and examine alterations to carbon, nitrogen, water and energy balances and biodiversity in contrasting native and managed ecosystems typical of the landscape mosaic and their impact on air and water quality within peri-urban ecosystems.
Key research questions
- Can ecosystem services be maintained in an urbanising environment?
- How do carbon and energy balances change under different land uses in transition from a natural dry sclerophyll forest to a peri-urban area?
- What impact will Brisbane’s peri-urban development have on water and greenhouse gases (carbon) and surrounding vegetation?
- What are the long-term effects of urbanisation on remnant vegetation?
- How will changes in the climate, land-use (e.g. from rural to residential) and soil nutrient balances affect water leaving the catchment?
- How can bio-acoustics be used for measuring ecosystem health?
South East Queensland Peri-urban SuperSite Ancillary Datasets
TERN AusCover activities at the SEQ Peri-urban SuperSite
AusCover has run airborne LiDAR and hyperspectral and ground LiDAR campaigns at Samford and Karawatha nodes. Phenocams are utilised to integrate flux measurements and phenology to understand the impacts of climate change on Australian landscapes.
Slideshare presentation: Phenocam Network: Australian Phenology Product Validation: Phenocam Network (2014) K. Davies, M. Liddell, N. Weiand, C. Macfarlane, J. Byrne, V. R. des Dios, M. Boer, C. Maeir, N. Boulain, J. Cleverly, D. Eamus, G. Koerber and W. S. Meyer.
TERN OzFlux at the SEQ Peri-urban SuperSite
OzFlux maintains the flux tower instrumentation that continuously measures exchanges of carbon dioxide, water vapour and energy between the terrestrial ecosystem and atmosphere.
Flux data is available from the OzFlux data portal.
Facilities for Researchers and Educational Visitors
Access to the Samford node research site and facilities can be arranged by application to the QUT SERF Research Committee.
Education and Outreach
The Samford Ecological Research Facility is used for research and undergraduate field trips from the Queensland University of Technology Faculties of Science and Technology, Built Environment and Engineering and the Faculty of Creative Industries. These field trips have involved terrestrial and aquatic invertebrate and vertebrate sampling, bird surveys, mammal trapping and various soil and vegetation surveys.
Postgraduate Projects and Post-docs associated with the South East Queensland Peri-Urban SuperSiteKarawatha
- James Cifuentes (Honours), Supervisor Prof Clyde Wild (Griffith). Ant ecology in Karawatha forest.
- Emily Flower (Honours), Supervisor Prof Darryl Jones (Griffith). Development of guidelines for regional scale Citizen Science projects using Koala Quest 2015 as the study focus.
Karawatha Discovery Centre
In early 2016 Brisbane City Council opened a new environmental discovery centre at Karawatha Forest. The Karawatha Discovery Centre provides amenities and a arrange of interactive experiences for the public that educate visitors about the natural area’s significance. The centre also provides a meeting room and adjacent outdoor undercover area available for environmental group use.