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TERN’s network of large-scale transect infrastructure provides a powerful tool for addressing key ecological knowledge needs. The Australian Transect Network (ATN) facilitates the study of ecological structure and processes over major biophysical gradients, documenting ecological change and adaptation in relation to climate variation across Australia’s major terrestrial biomes.
The network is focussed primarily on field observations and monitoring of natural and semi-natural terrestrial ecosystems. It delivers publicly accessible data and products to enable researchers to predict how species and ecosystems will change in the future. Through ATN’s partners, research outcomes are linked to and inform natural resource management projects, policy settings, conservation and climate adaptation planning, and ecological monitoring programs.
The ATN maintains a national network of subcontinental transects which traverse major biomes, land tenures (including agricultural landscapes) and bioclimatic gradients:
The ATN delivers composition, structure, function and landscape data to the research community at two scales:
The usefulness of transect science is maximised when the same measures are recorded on each transect within an integrated network. Importantly, this is occurring with the ATN, with consistent soil and vegetation data available for BATS, NATT, SWATT and TREND. Other common measures are being further developed, including ant communities (NATT, TREND, WTAT), plant traits (BATS, TREND) and soil microbial communities (BATS, NATT, SWATT, TREND).
The ATN’s coverage of a range of ecological attributes is tailored and responsive to the needs of the research community. The above table features attribute coverage of the network’s core transects and will in the future include the network’s affiliate transects, including WTAT, BoxEW and EADrosT.
The ATN actively supports and facilitates:
The ATN provides a connected, established framework and scientific resources to help researchers answer the following ecological questions of national significance:
ATN science outputs are being used by TERN’s end-user community to build ecological knowledge, support conservation planning and inform land management and climate adaptation decisions. Take a look at our series of Information Sheets for examples of how exciting new transect science is supporting ecosystem research and management:
|Adaptation in an arid eucalypt: Understanding genetic structure and climate adaptation can improve effectiveness of revegetation||Assessing climate change vulnerability: Combining population genetics, species distribution modelling and field assessments to help predict a species response to climate change||Savanna ant diversity and climate change: Understanding patterns of ant diversity can help predict biodiversity responses to climate change in northern Australia|
|Carbon dynamics and trees in northern Australia: Understanding savanna carbon dynamics in support of fire management for greenhouse gas abatement||Climate change impacts on biodiversity: Identifying the sensitive zones||Linking climate change, revegetation and leaf traits in Narrow-leaf Hop-bush|
|Livestock grazing and biodiversity conservation: Impacts on ant communities in Australia’s seasonal tropics||Biodiversity of southern Western Australia’s sandplains: Implications of high species turnover for conservation planning|
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.