The University of Adelaide
What will we cover today?
Types of environmental monitoring.
Details of each type.
Ausplots as an example.
Two practical exercise to experience some of
Survey/ Field Trip/ Excursion is about working
out what is there
Monitoring is about going to the same place
again and again to see how it has changed
Seasonal and long term change
Step 1. – Using Lego construct a
Why is it a health environment?
No Dead Trees
A house for Mr Frog under the leaves
A house for Mr Bat
Shade for Mr Scorpion
Good because there are lots of trees and
Why is it a Healthy Environment?
No Dead Trees
Lots of trees
Lots of animals (frog, scorpion, snake,
Lots of flowers
Weeds under rock
Trees with roots showing
Safe places for animals to live.
After Eyre et. al. 2011
Designing a surveillance monitoring
network for Australia.
Because we want to know if there is a problem, but
we don’t have the resources to have the fire
department everywhere all the time!
- ecological research infrastructure (the core environmental
information that everyone uses – Like road infrastructure)
– Make new and old information available for everyone,
from backyards to global
– Collect new data in important areas and where we don’t
In the context of AusPlots the Plots and their associated data are
considered to be infrastructure.
Objectives of AusPlots
National network of surveillance and ecosystem baseline assessment sites
Measuring soil and vegetation the same way everywhere and
Putting them in sensible places and
Analyzing the data (What change is happening) and making samples available
to researchers and
Making data available
Work out what change is happening where (and how much)
About Our Method
• Has to be practical – easy to use
• “It’s not about developing the perfect method, but rather
understanding how imperfect the method is.”
• Pick which bits are collected where
• Mostly we collect everything
SW S2 S3 S4 S5 SE
What do we collect?
for official Identification and future use.
Vouchers for genetic and isotope analysis
1. Take around 10 cm2 from
each voucher specimen
2. Place into a synthetic
tea bag and seal
3. Label with adhesive voucher
label and scan with app
4. Place bag in box with ⅓ cup
silica granules (self indicating
and non-indicating granules)
5. Seal box and ensure it is
labelled with plot identifier.
Preferably 1 box per plot.
Change silica every few days
until indicator no longer
6. Samples can then be
used for isotope and
+ Duplicates for
The tripod is set up at
each apex of the triangle
and a full set of photos
taken for 360 degrees at
The centre point is a star
dropper standing 1.3m
tall (if at all possible) with
a mark ( the top of the
mark) set 25cm from the
top of the pole.
Stage 1. Where to go in
Stage 2. Which ones to do
Stage 3. What do we already
Stage 4. Does it seem a good
site when we get there?
Where? - Stratification
there is a NEED for
Have also made methods on :
Condition / Health
With ongoing work on:
Ants and Bugs
A Quicker method
What to do when we go back to a site
How is it achieved?
Extensive Networking / Collaboration / input to the process
Engage with Agricultural, Environmental, Forestry communities as well as NGO’s –
Input from all Rangeland States and Territories
The challenges of this kind of project are greater socially than they are scientifically!
One method agreed upon and used across
Designed to be used with our training
New modules being added – Check back
• Based in Adelaide
• Provides consistency
• Best way to use
scarce resources –
Would prefer to have
state based teams in
the future if funding
• Well equipped
• Can train others
• Work in conjunction
with state agencies
• Work well together in
• At least one per
• A day of lectures
aspects of the
• A day learning
of our method
• Focuses on
• Held in the
• Well maintained website
• Conference presentations
• International reference groups /
• Regular TERN Newsletter articles
to large mailing list.
How to get samples
At Present have collected approximately:
>10,000 Soil samples
~2700 Soil metagenomic Samples
>15000 Voucher specimens
~ 15000 Genetic Samples
~ 16000 Dominant Genetic replicates
All of which can be access following standard protocols
Information pack available for download at our website
Details how to get access.
What can AusPlots offer you?
For details including Volunteering, HDR, Data, methods,
Samples, Training, App etc.
08 8313 1201