In the latest round of support for the Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network (TERN) a proposal by Profs Wayne Meyer and David Chittleborough has received support. The new support will enable continuation and supplementation of the energy, CO2 and H2O monitoring system set up over mallee vegetation on Calperum Station just north of Renmark. The 20 m tower is equipped with an array of sensors including very high frequency eddy correlation measures from which land and vegetation evaporation is being estimated. The measures are linked into the national OzFlux network that has similar instrumentation over a range of ecosystems across Australia. The Australian data is, in turn, made available internationally and is being used as part of the global effort to improve the surface to atmosphere coupling that is critical in the global circulation models (GCMs). The supplementation from the current TERN round will enable an upgrading of soil water monitoring and keep the site operational for the next three years.
As an additional component of TERN, the Calperum site will begin some development to upgrade the site to an intensive monitoring site – termed a “supersite” in the TERN system. Three “supersites” are being funded currently – Warra in southern Tasmania, a peri-urban site in south eastern Queensland and one over woodland in south western WA. The Calperum site has been allotted a modest amount to facilitate connection to other ecosystem monitoring in the area. Our intention is to link with flora and fauna monitoring on Calperum, vegetation and groundwater monitoring on the adjacent Chowilla floodplain and linkage with the riparian and in river monitoring by SA government agencies. The intention is to build a comprehensive ecosystem condition monitoring network focussed around this Calperum-Chowilla region.