A SuperSite is an intensive ecosystem observatory set up to examine the status and processes of one of Australia’s many ecosystems. Each SuperSite comprises a main field site that takes vegetative, faunal and biophysical measurements and works over at least one gradient (topographical or ecological) transect in a typical and important biome in Australia. A SuperSite uses existing and recently deployed environmental monitoring installations to collect comprehensive sets of long-term ecosystem data of high temporal and spatial resolution.
The Australian SuperSite Network (SuperSites) is part of the Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network (TERN) and currently installs a nationally consistent network of multidisciplinary ecosystem observatories. Each SuperSite is located in a significant Australian biome and the network spans a wide range of environmental conditions. Therefore, the network assembles crucial data sets to enhance the understanding on how key ecosystems will respond to future environmental change.
Data sets collected at SuperSites include a wide variety of meteorological, faunal and ecological parameter such as air temperature, humidity, faunal biodiversity, plant functional traits and many more. One tool used to collect data at SuperSites are Phenology cameras (PhenoCams), which collect digital repeat photographic images of vegetation from each of the SuperSites. PhenoCam images provide, amongst many other data, details on mechanisms of changes viewed by satellites such as the relationship of tree and grass layer to satellite data and the relationship to number, colour or age of leaves. As the PhenoCam network is still under development and will be further automated and standardised, the resulting data will contribute to improve ecosystem models being developed by the TERN eMAST facility and others.
The SuperSite network data is made available to the ecosystem research community from a single point of access to ease research data discovery and encourage the exchange of information between ecosystem scientists. For more information visit the Australian SuperSite Network website.