On December 8th 2022, the TERN Australia Soil and Herbarium Collection facility was launched by the National Soils Advocate the Hon. Penny Wensley AC.
Coinciding with the launch is news of international recognition from the Index Herbariorum. This global network of herbaria has registered the TERN Herbarium Collection, allowing it to join 48 other Australian herbaria on the global list, which totals 4,457.
With funding from the Australian Government’s national research infrastructure NCRIS grant and co-contributions from the State Government of South Australia and the University of Adelaide, this purpose-built treasure trove for ecologists brings together more than 150,000 soil and plant samples at the University’s Waite campus collected over 10 years from 900 sites across the country by TERN Australia.
Associate Professor Ben Sparrow, TERN Program Lead at the University of Adelaide, said, “Unlike most soil and plant collections around the world, for each sample in the TERN collection scientists can access comprehensive environmental information about the 100m x 100m survey sites where they were collected and find every other sample collected at each site.
“That enables some really complex research which has traditionally been hard to do, such as on relationships between soils, plants, carbon and environmental conditions.”
“Botanists, ecologists and agricultural scientists are frequent users of this collection, but the samples can also be useful to microbiologists who look to the soil microbiome for a range of human health applications.”