AusPlots offers a range of products and services that are of benefit to people seeking to study, understand and manage Australia's rangelands and tall forest ecosystems. All of AusPlots' outputs are made freely accessible for use by the ecosystem research and management community.
Read below to find out how you can use AusPlots' infrastructure.
AusPlots data are available via TERN's AEKOS Data Portal and the Soils to Satellites tool. As of January 2017 data from approximately 410 sites is available, with more being added regularly as herbarium identifications are received. The program has collected >500 plots to date. For an example of the types of data available, download the Summary of Sites in the Lake Eyre Basin 2010-2015 and Summary of Sites in the Northern Gulf Catchments 2012-2013. For more information or assistance accessing AusPlots data please contact Andrew Tokmakoff.
Traditional soil samples, soil metagenomic samples, vegetation voucher samples and vegetation genetic and isotope samples may all be available for use by researchers. Plant samples collected by AusPlots are contributed to regional herbaria, with some samples stored at the AusPlots facility. Soil samples are held by AusPlots at the University of Adelaide.
The AusPlots Rangelands Survey Protocols Manual provides a simple agreed method for anyone undertaking research or monitoring in the rangelands. Developed in collaboration with all of the rangelands' jurisdictions the method is the first nationally agreed and consistent method for rangelands monitoring. It is freely available, and is supported by a field app that streamlines data entry and download processes.
The AusPlots Forests Survey Protocols Manual (v1.6) outlines the field methodology for AusPlots Forests including: (a) the installation of plot infrastructure, (b) the description of the site and (c) the core measurements that form the minimum dataset for AusPlots Forests plots. The background and rationale of the project and details of bioregional stratification and site selection will be outlined in a separate document. This early edition is provided as an online resource and material from the document or its attachments should not be republished without written consent. The AusPlots Forests Team recently published a paper in PLOS ONE describing the forest network and providing some interesting findings from the initial site establishment data. If you have any feedback on this version of the manual please contact Dr Sam Wood.
AusPlots have developed a new procedure for taking photopoints that has been applied at all AusPlots sites. The method allows their use as traditional photopoints and enables basal area to be extracted from the photography of each site. Seamless site panoramas are also available, along with point cloud data (similar to that used by Lidar) are available. Researchers at the University of Adelaide are continuing research on the data available from this method to attempt to extract further structural information.
We are currently developing an online system where users can submit photography collected according to the AusPlots method and have basal area along with photopanoramas and point clouds calculated on our infrastructure. This tool will be linked here as soon as it is stable and in production. In the meantime, you can watch this short video that demonstrates the photopoint visualisation.
The AusPlots team have developed an Android field data collection app to assist with data collection in the field. The app makes data collection quicker, removes time entering data at a later date along with associated errors, and uploads data to our server, making the data collection process streamlined. If you're collecting AusPlots data you will want to use the app.
The AusPlots team offer a four day training course covering all aspects of AusPlots work. This training course comprises a day of lectures and then three days in the field learning soils, vegetation, and technical aspects of our work in a rangeland environment. This training course is run at least once annually, but can be run more often if there is high demand.
The next scheduled training course will be held in Karratha and Millstream Chichester National Park, Western Australia, from Monday 25 July to Thursday 28 July 2016. More information is available here. Please register your interest in attending this next course by contacting Sally O'Neill.
Fieldwork and volunteering
The AusPlots field team are regularly conducting field surveys at sites throughout Australia, and on occasion are in a position to take volunteers on these surveys. These trips are a great way to learn more about our methods and interact with leading field ecologists in locations that are difficult to get to any other way.
To register your interest in volunteering, please complete this brief form.
Note - Please be aware that AusPlots surveys are mostly conducted in remote locations with no access to facilities and often in harsh conditions.
The AusPlots program is a significant investment in Australia's ecosystem research infrastructure and collects vast quantities of data. These data are freely available to the public, once curated. As a result, there are a range of opportunities for research work to be conducted by research students using the data. Opportunities are available for Honours, Masters by research and PhD students to work with the team on their projects. Areas of interests could include implications of the point intercept methods, work on vegetation condition, soils projects along with a range of opportunities for genetic projects. For more information please contact Ben Sparrow.
Our sites are selected using a robust stratification procedure that progresses from a national to local level of information. This procedure is being prepared for publication, in the meantime feel free to contact us for further information.
The AusPlots team are experienced in undertaking field work and studies throughout Australia. You can take advantage of this expertise by seeking their advice on your work, and on the application of AusPlots' methods and approaches in your work. As a first step, please contact Ben Sparrow.