TERN: Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network

LOCATION:  Davies Building, Paratoo Rd, Waite Campus, Urrbrae

Who We Are

TERN (Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network) is Australia’s national land ecosystem observatory. It measures key terrestrial ecosystem attributes over time from continental scale to field sites at hundreds of representative locations, and openly provides model-ready data that enables researchers to detect and interpret changes in land ecosystems.

The TERN observatory is structured around three key scales of observation: Landscapes (continental), Ecosystem Surveillance (regional), and Ecosystem Processes (local).

The Waite is home to Ecosystem Surveillance, TERN’s plot-based field monitoring capability. The TERN Ecosystem Surveillance team conducts field surveys and samples soil and vegetation across a national network of plots and transects to provide the data, samples and advice needed for improved monitoring and assessment of Australia’s major ecosystems. Through consistent ecological assessment and ongoing monitoring, we track the direction and magnitude of change in Australia’s environments over time, helping scientists and land managers better detect and quantify change in vegetation structure and composition, land cover and soil characteristics.

By delivering quality data, tools and expertise to researchers who are working to understand Australia’s environment, TERN enables management for sustainable ecological, social and economic benefit.

 National Research Infrastructure

TERN is supported by the Australian Government through the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS).

NCRIS facilitates research infrastructure – the platforms, data and tools for targeted research. TERN Ecosystem Surveillance achieves this by delivering a wide range of freely available ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ infrastructure that is valuable for researchers and land managers, including:

  • Scientific protocols and methods
  • Samples and specimens
  • Data
  • Monitoring and detection
  • Photo methods and image library
  • Custom-built field survey apps
  • Training and advice


The TERN Ecosystem Surveillance team works together to develop innovative scientific tools and monitoring strategies, create and deliver robust environmental datasets, and share our services, data, and samples with researchers around the world. It collaborates with community, industry and academic partners across a diverse range of sectors and projects to provide high-quality information, resources, and analysis for informed management decisions and to support future research in a wide range of fields.

TERN assists government, industry, not-for-profit organisations and business to develop environmental monitoring techniques, ranging from survey methods to customised apps and data delivery. TERN staff are also passionate about scientific communication and community engagement and are available to provide expert technical advice on ecosystem monitoring through contracting services.

Dr Beryl Morris
TERN Director
T. +61 7 3346 7020
E. beryl.morris@uq.edu.au

Assoc Prof Ben Sparrow
TERN Ecosystem Surveillance Program Lead
T. +61 8 8313 1201
E. ben.sparrow@adelaide.edu.au

Sally O’Neill
TERN Ecosystem Surveillance Operations Manager
T. +61 8 8313 3494
E. sally.oneill@adelaide.edu.au

Partner Details

  • TERN Ecosystem Surveillance
  • T. +61 8 8313 1201
  • A. Davies Building, Paratoo Road, Waite Campus, Urrbrae


TERN Employment Opportunities

TERN has two vacancies open until late April – have a look now at positions as ‘UAV Lead’ and ‘Field Coordinator’ with TERN at Waite Campus.

There are no upcoming events.

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