Short course: TERN Surveillance Field Method Training, 28 Apr - 4 May

TERN & University of Adelaide, Calperum, SA

Short course: ‘TERN Surveillance Field Method Training: practical training in plot-based ecological monitoring in Australia’s ecosystems’

  • Dates: Sunday 28th April to Saturday 4th May (including travel to/from Adelaide)
  • Delivered by: TERN and The University of Adelaide

Led by experienced ecologists from TERN, Australia’s land ecosystem observatory, participants will spend a day in formal lectures and five days in the field exploring all aspects of the well established, scientifically accepted field protocols. Participants will learn specific techniques to collect and record ecosystem measures that enable effective scientific monitoring.

Suitable for: Undergraduates, postgraduates, seasoned researchers, technical officers, government researchers and land management officers wanting to fully understand our data and sample collection methods, as well as people with in interest in ecological monitoring wanting to learn scientific techniques.

Location: Calperum Station, a property of Australian Landscape Trust, in the South Australian Riverland (near Renmark). Participants will have the option to travel with the TERN team exiting Adelaide.  

The training will aim to:

  • introduce participants to TERN, and specifically TERN ecological surveillance monitoring
  • provide practical hands-on experience to the protocols, methods and techniques, including all vegetation and soils modules, photopoints, and establishing the plot set-up, as well as key aspects of fauna monitoring methods
  • enable participants to practice what they learn and refine techniques under the supervision of experienced field ecologists

At the conclusion of the training, participants will:

  • have a detailed understanding of the protocols, methods and techniques TERN Surveillance delivers
  • be able to apply the methods and techniques learnt to other ecological field monitoring
  • understand how the TERN Surveillance dataset has been collected, it’s strengths and limitations for using the data in their own research.

The course covers all aspects of the vegetation and soil modules, and key vertebrate fauna modules, of the TERN Surveillance protocols, and how these specific methods and techniques can be applied to a range of applications, as well as identifying the data and samples available for use.

The specific field methods and techniques cover everything from field trip planning, plot selection (both at the wider landscape scale, and micro-siting the plot in the targeted vegetation community), and all the specific techniques. This includes: plot layout and positioning using DGPS (or equivalent for high accuracy), photopoints, vascular plant vouchering, genetics and isotope sample vouchering, point intercept transects, basal area calculations, leaf area index, soil pit descriptions including soil characterisations and bulk density sampling, soil metagenomic sampling, plot disturbance, landform and vegetation community descriptions, as well as select components of the vertebrate fauna protocols.

In addition to the specific TERN protocols, participants will learn about identifying monitoring needs for effective monitoring design, sample collection, sample handling and field curation, data collection using various techniques including custom-built apps, datasheets, and voice recording, and basic field analysis.

Cost: $350 pp, including travel from Adelaide, food and bunk style accommodation

More information: Download the training programme and registration form from

Contact for further information: Sally O’Neill, email (phone 08 8313 3494).

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