$2m data enhancement project will help safeguard Australia’s native flora

December 7, 2017

Over $2 million of new funding has been announced for a data project to help monitor native vegetation and protect Australia from invasive species.


The ‘EcoScience Research Data Cloud and Data Enhanced Virtual Laboratory’ (EcoCloud) project will provide an online platform giving researchers easy access to large volumes of curated data and tools using Cloud and Virtual Laboratory (VL) technology. This will also include resources to support publication and sharing of the data and its analysis.


The outcome will be an enhanced ability of researchers to track changes in the environment, develop state of the environment reporting for native vegetation, provide input to the environmental carbon accounting and develop other environmental indicators.


The project will receive $1.125 million from ANDS, Nectar and RDS through their joint DeVL/RDC program, which will be matched by $1.13 million in co-investment by project partners.


Partner organisations include:


  • Atlas of Living of Australia (ALA)

  • Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES)

  • The Biodiversity and Climate Change Virtual Laboratory (BCCVL)

  • Griffith University

  • Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network (TERN)

  • The Queensland Cyber Infrastructure Foundation (QCIF)

  • Australian Plant Phenomics Facility (APPF)

  • CSIRO Land & Water - Environmental Informatics

  • Department of Environment and Energy (DoEE)

  • eResearch South Australia (eRSA)

  • Fenner School of Environment and Society (ANU)

  • National Computational Infrastructure (NCI)


The project will also collaborate with other science domains with similar needs, such as agriculture, marine and bioscience, to develop more robust scalable infrastructure through sharing of expertise, knowledge and operations.


Key outcomes of the EcoCloud project


1. Supporting the Essential Environmental Measures (EEMs) program led by the Australian Government Department of Environment and Energy (DoEE).


EEMs identifies measures essential to tracking changes in the state of the environment and improving access and use of data underpinning those measures.


In collaboration with DoEE, the EcoCloud project will demonstrate how different sources of primary observation data (including landscape, surveillance, targeted and extensive monitoring) can be harnessed to establish EEMs for native vegetation through data integration, harmonisation and modelling efforts. This will be achieved by consolidating various native vegetation data sources from NCRIS projects and state government agencies. The outcome will be the delivery of a new data streams of Essential Measures in a standardised format, allowing wider access and reuse of the data.


2. The integration of findable, accessible and standardised information on species trait data, with a focus on Invasive Species.


Agriculture and biosecurity decision makers need better predictive tools to help inform their pest and weed policy and management approaches. The EcoCloud project will extend modelling capabilities for invasive species distribution and dispersal patterns using environmental, habitat and trait data. This new modelling foundation will enable the identification of factors that drive phenotypic responses, which are essential for informing pest and weed management approaches.


ANDS, Nectar, RDS, ALA, APPF and TERN are projects of the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) program, an initiative of the Commonwealth Department of Education and Training.


For any enquiries about this project, please contact the ANDS/Nectar/RDS project coordinator Michelle Barker at michelle.barker@nectar.org.au.





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This website relates to activity between July 2017 and June 2018.


Please visit the ARDC website for all activity post June 2018.

Monash University is the lead agent of ANDS.

The University of Melbourne is the lead agent of Nectar.

The University of Queensland is the lead agent of RDS.

This activity received grant funding from the Australian Government through the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy.

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