TERN Australian Transect Network ATBC 2014

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Alan Anderson of the Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network (TERN) presenting on the Australian Transect Network at the 51st meeting of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation in Cairns in July 2014.

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TERN Australian Transect Network ATBC 2014

  1. 1. The Australian Transect Network Bioclimatic gradients for assessing and monitoring ecological change Stefan Caddy-Retalic, Alan Andersen & Ian Fox
  2. 2. Terrestrial Environmental Research Network
  3. 3. ATN – Four primary transects NATT North Australian Tropical Transect SWATT South West Australian Transitional Transect BATS Biodiversity and Adaptation Transect Sydney TREND TRansect for ENvironmental monitoring and Decision making
  4. 4. ATN – Four primary transects Spinifex Hummock Grassland Tropical Savanna NATT North Australian Tropical Transect SWATT South West Australian Transitional Transect BATS Biodiversity and Adaptation Transect Sydney Acacia Shrubland TREND TRansect for ENvironmental monitoring and Decision making Eucalypt Open Forest Subtropical forest Eucalypt Open Woodland
  5. 5. Why bioclimatic transects? • Scaling-up from local, plot-based studies • Biogeographic framework for locating plots
  6. 6. Why bioclimatic transects? • Scaling-up from local, plot-based studies • Developing, calibrating and validating ecological models and remote sensing products
  7. 7. Why bioclimatic transects? • Scaling-up from local, plot-based studies • Developing, calibrating and validating ecological models and remote sensing products • Identifying sensitive zones in relation to environmental stress and disturbance • Space as a proxy for time for climate-change research
  8. 8. Key Science Questions 1. How do species abundances, richness and composition, and ecological function change along large-scale environmental gradients?
  9. 9. Key Science Questions 1. How do species abundances, richness and composition, and ecological function change along large-scale environmental gradients? 2. Is there predictable variation in ecosystem resilience?
  10. 10. Key Science Questions 1. How do species abundances, richness and composition, and ecological function change along large-scale environmental gradients? 2. Is there predictable variation in ecosystem resilience? 3. How might ecosystems respond to climate change? • Turnover in species, adaptive traits and genes
  11. 11. ATN – NATT and TREND NATT TREND
  12. 12. Overarching research framework of responses of ecosystems to stress (PAM, AN) and disturbance (fire, grazing) North Australian Tropical Transect IGBP-GCTE Global Network of Transects
  13. 13. DARWIN TENNANT CREEK 500 mm 750 mm 1000 mm 1250 mm 1500 mm Photos: Adam Liedloff North Australian Tropical Transect
  14. 14. NATT Focal Areas DARWIN TENNANT CREEK Growth of tagged trees • Site every 100 km • 12 eucalypts tagged per site • Initial measurements 2000 • Re-measured 2012 1. Tree dynamics
  15. 15. Tree growth along NATT 0 0.05 0.1 0.15 0.2 0.25 0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0 500 1000 1500 2000 Heightincrement(m/yr) DBHincrement(cm/yr) Median annual rainfall (mm) G. D. Cook, unpublished Height (for tree with 25 cm dbh) DBH
  16. 16. Monitoring tree dynamics using LiDAR
  17. 17. NATT Focal Areas 2. Carbon stocks and fluxes 0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1 1.2 0 500 1000 1500 2000 Sand Loam Tree cover and rainfall
  18. 18. NATT Focal Areas 2. Carbon stocks and fluxes 0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1 1.2 0 500 1000 1500 2000 Sand Loam 0 2 4 6 8 0 1 2 3 4 5 log DBH (cm) logBiomass(kg) -1 0 1 2 3 4 5 0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5 4.0 4.5 log tree DBH (cm) logrootbiomass(kg/m2) Tree carbon stocks – above ground Tree carbon stocks – below ground Tree cover and rainfall Biomass as predicted by DBH
  19. 19. NATT Focal Areas 2. Carbon stocks and fluxes • LiDAR for landscape-scale assessments
  20. 20. NATT Focal Areas 2. Carbon stocks and fluxes • LiDAR • Integration with flux-tower measurements Collaborating institutions: • CDU (Hutley and Maier) • Max Planck (Levick)
  21. 21. 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 1500 1250 1000 750 500 Annual rainfall (mm) No.species Sand Loam Plot (1 ha) richness Tropical Arid Ants as a focal taxon for biodiversity studies NATT Focal Areas 3. Biodiversity
  22. 22. Ant biogeographic discontinuities 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 1500 1250 1000 750 500 Annual rainfall (mm) No.species Sand Loam Plot richness Mesic Semi-arid Arid
  23. 23. Finer resolution of the sensitive areas in relation to climate change U.S. Fulbright PhD scholar Israel Del Toro, University of Amherst
  24. 24. NATT Focal Areas 4. Ecological processes - Fire • 400,000 km2 burnt each year • Biodiversity declines • GHG abatement
  25. 25. NATT Focal Areas 4. Ecological processes - Fire y = -2E-07x2 + 0.0008x - 0.145 R² = 0.8489 -0.1 0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 1400 1600 1800 Mean % area burnt Mean annual rainfall
  26. 26. NATT Focal Areas 4. Ecological processes - Fire y = 2E-07x2 - 3E-05x + 0.0106 R² = 0.787 0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0 500 1000 1500 2000 Early dry season y = -4E-07x2 + 0.0008x - 0.1556 R² = 0.6897 -0.05 0 0.05 0.1 0.15 0.2 0.25 0.3 0.35 0.4 0 500 1000 1500 2000 Late dry season Mean annual rainfall Mean annual rainfall
  27. 27. Transect for Environmental Monitoring and Decision-making Vegetation turn-over quantified Guerin & Lowe EMAS 2012 Guerin et al. 2013  35 Plots  Soil characterisation  Floral composition  Vegetation structure  Ant communities  Metagenomics  Photopoints Temperature loggers  δ13C & δ15N isotopes
  28. 28. Current and predicted future species distributions Now 2050
  29. 29. Current and predicted future species distributions Now 2050 Mapping sensitivity to climate change
  30. 30. Detecting ecosystem changes over time: implications for the future Orchids flowering 20 days earlier than 20 years ago Flowering phenology
  31. 31. Detecting ecosystem changes over time: implications for the future Orchids flowering 20 days earlier than 20 years ago Hop Bush leaves narrowing over the last century Flowering phenology Functional traits
  32. 32. Using new genomics techniques Plants •DNA barcoding •Biogeography •Population Genetics/Genomics Soils •Metabarcoding McCallum et al AustEcol 2013 Gene turn-over in plants and soil Genomics, metagenomics and transcriptomics
  33. 33. Integrating information on biodiversity distribution and climate sensitivity for biodiversity resilience • Weighted benefit maps for policy and land management decision makers
  34. 34. Connecting the public to research is a TREND priority. This should be a two-way dialogue.
  35. 35. Australian Transect Network A powerful tool for enhanced ecosystem understanding and management in the face of climate change

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