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Australian Transect Network

The Australian Transect Network (ATN) comprises seven major subcontinental transects that span biomes and traverse major rainfall, temperature and land-use gradients from the coast to inland areas. These are the:

Follow the links to find out more:

The Australian Transect Network’s science direction is led by a Scientific Advisory Group which is developing a long term strategic plan for the ATN—meet the ATN Scientific Advisory Group here. The group meets quarterly and operates under Terms of Reference. It is chaired by the ATN’s Scientific Director, Prof Alan Andersen. The ATN Scientific Advisory Group hosts an annual transect science workshop. Outcomes for the 2015 Workshop can be viewed here.

The ATN’s infrastructure has supported numerous research publications, which can be viewed here.

Large-scale transects are powerful tools for addressing key knowledge needs because they facilitate the study of ecological structure and processes over major biophysical gradients. Thus, transects can be used to help develop, calibrate and validate ecological models and remote sensing products for an enhanced understanding of controls on ecosystem structure and function.

Transects also enable the monitoring of changes to key ecological transitions in the context of global climate change. By studying regional patterns and trends and quantifying species composition and change, our researchers can begin to predict how species and ecosystems will change in the future. This information allows land managers, scientists and governments to ensure that their management plans incorporate likely future changes in our environment.

Key research areas to be addressed by the Australian Transect Network include:

  • How do species abundances, species composition, species richness and ecological function change along large-scale environmental gradients?
  • Can environmental thresholds be identified where there are abrupt changes in species abundances, species composition, species richness or ecological function?
  • Is there predictable variation in ecosystem resilience?
  • To what extent can ecosystem resilience be predicted on the basis of rainfall, temperature and soil type?
  • How might ecosystems respond to climate change?

Information about the ATN’s transects can be viewed in the booklet ‘Windows to Our Environmental Future'. You can also view reports from TERN-funded projects on the NATT and TREND.

The contact people and partner organisations for each of the seven major subcontinental transects that make up The Australian Transect Network (ATN) are shown below:



North Australian Tropical Transect (NT)

Alan Andersen

Charles Darwin University


South West Australian Transitional Transect (WA)

Stephen van Leeuwen/

Margaret Byrne

Department of Parks and Wildlife, Western Australia


Transect for Environmental Monitoring and Decision-Making (SA)

Andrew Lowe/

Greg Guerin

University of Adelaide


Biodiversity Adaptation Transect Sydney (NSW)

Maurizio Rossetto

Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney


Box gum east-west transect (NSW)

Suzanne Prober

CSIRO Land & Water Flagship


Australian east coast Drosophila Transect

Ary Hoffmann

University of Melbourne


Wet Tropics Altitudinal Transect  (Queensland)

Stephen Williams

James Cook University

^ATN affiliate.

ATN Information Sheets

The Australian Transect Network (ATN) has produced a series of information sheets featuring just some of the ecosystem science research that the ATN facilitates.  The five information sheets below not only showcase some exciting new science and its management implications, but also provide insights into the ways in which ATN infrastructure is helping TERN’s end-user community: the nation, researchers and environmental managers.

Adaptation in an arid eucalypt Assessing climate change vulnerability Savanna ant diversity and climate change
Carbon dynamics and trees in northern Australia Climate change impacts on biodiversity Linking climate change, revegetation and leaf traits in Narrow-leaf Hop-bush
Livestock grazing and biodiversity conservation    


ATN Facility Director

Michelle Rodrigo
P: +61 437 322 663


ATN Science Director

Prof. Alan Andersen
P: +61 468 384 038


Alan Anderson's presentation on the Australian Transect Network at the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation 51st meeting in July 2014. Click here to access via TERN's SlideShare page.

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