People using TERN: Vikram Dhillon

TERN’s infrastructure is not only helping science professionals but also people like Vikram Dhillon who recently used TERN facilitated pollen research to help make important decisions for the health of his family.


Ensuring pollen data aren't gone with the wind

Take a behind-the-scenes look at a group of Australian ecosystem scientists struggling with real-life problems of data management. And, unlike the classic ‘Gone with the wind’, this story has a happy ending, thanks to data infrastructure provided through TERN.


In a world first, two science synthesis centres – TERN’s ACEAS, and SESYNC in the US – have joined forces for an innovative ecosystem services project combining choice modelling, ecosystem modelling, and interactive multiplayer games.

Australian Centre for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis

The Australian Centre for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (ACEAS) was a Facility of TERN from 2009-2014, enabling disciplinary and inter-disciplinary integration, synthesis and modelling of ecosystem data. During its time of operation, ACEAS enabled scientists and managers in Australia and internationally to develop evidenced-based environmental management strategies and policy at regional, state and continental scales.

ACEAS' outputs continue to enrich ecosystem science and management in Australia, and demonstrate the value of infrastructure to enable inter-disciplinary collaboration and synthesis. You can find out more about ACEAS' past work by reading below, or visiting

The key principles of ACEAS were to:

  • facilitate the advancement of pure and applied ecosystem knowledge through the search for spatial and temporal patterns and principles in existing data;
  • improve the organisation and synthesis of ecosystem information in a manner useful to researchers, resource managers, and policy makers addressing important natural resource management issues;
  • influence the way ecosystem research is conducted in the future, in both the short and long term promoting a culture of synthesis, collaboration, and data sharing;
  • promote integrative research and the principles of ecosystem science to facilitate linkages between all ecosystem disciplines and the natural resource management community;
  • serve as a conduit between the ecosystem and natural resource management communities in the development of innovative management strategies for sustainable management of Australia's natural resources and the maintenance of biodiversity; and
  • determine the types of data and new infrastructure required to address remaining major applied and pure questions in ecosystem science.


Products and Outcomes

Final Reports: The final reports are summaries of the outcomes from the ACEAS working groups, each of which addressed a different complex problem in ecosystem science and management.

Data Portal: The ACEAS Web Portal. This has been designed to publish the data products developed by ACEAS working groups, and is used where geographical presentation is relevant.

Publications: This page contains a compilation of refereed papers produced by working groups and sabbatical fellows.

Occasional Report Series: There are incidental reports produced either through workshops as white papers, or emerging from research activity in which ACEAS had a part.


Further links

  • Students at all stages of their studies have not only enjoyed the educational, capacity-building and mentoring benefits of involvement in every single one of the synthetic working groups formed through TERN’s ACEAS facility – their participation is important to the success of the group.
  • Freshwater ecology was the focus of this year’s annual ACEAS Grand Workshop. Twenty-two leading aquatic scientists and policymakers from academia, research institutions and government departments came together in Brisbane in June to collaboratively address important issues in freshwater ecology in Australia and overseas.
  • ACEAS - the only synthesis centre in Australia and one of few in the world - facilitates researchers, policy makers and managers from the ecosystem science and management community to work together on problems requiring the integration and synthesis of a complex range of data and information. Click here to find out how.
  • A multidisciplinary research group convened through ACEAS has shown that the pattern of bushfires across Australia is shaped by the rainfall that comes with the tropical summer monsoon, rather than the amount of vegetation available as fuel. Click here to read more.
  • In an effort to increase our understanding of the patterns and causes of mammal extinctions in Australia ACEAS brought together experts from a number of ecological and conservation disciplines to combine and re-analyse existing datasets on mammal decline across the continent.
  • Thanks to ACEAS and the UN University, Indigenous land custodians are working with other experts in northern Australia and our neighbours in Timor and Papua New Guinea to collect and share knowledge from traditional Indigenous and contemporary practices for managing land using fire, and earning communities an income in the process.
  • Koala populations in Queensland and New South Wales have declined by more than one third in the last 18 years, or in three generations of the koala, according to new large-scale analyses by an ACEAS working group.
  • A working group funded by ACEAS is concluding that ecosystem science and land management will be more effective if decision-making is multi-disciplinary and managed regionally.
  • Several members of the ACEAS group 'Conserving koalas in the 21st Century' were interviewed as part of the 'Koala crunch time' story featured on ABC's Four Corners program on 20 August.
  • Do reduced emissions and increased carbon storage necessarily mean a win for biodiversity? A 2012 ACEAS workshop considered this question.

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