In May 2009, the Federal Government announced it was releasing a $1.1 billion boost for research infrastructure. This was used to support large projects within four areas: space science; marine science; climate science; and future industries. The Terrestrial Ecohydrology Research Group within C3 lead by Professor Derek Eamus received funding in early 2010 as part of the Terrestrial Ecology Research Network (TERN) to install the most remote eddy covariance (EC) gas flux analysis site in Australia, 200 km north of Alice Springs.EC is a technique used by ecohydrologists to measure total evapotranspiration from large areas of vegetationto which is vital in understanding landscape-scale water balances.
In an exciting new development, the TERG has recently been awarded an additional $250,000 from the Super Science fund to develop additional infrastructure along a groundwater depth gradient at a newly established SuperScience long-term field site, incorporating the original EC site. This provides an integrated field site that incorporates up to 20 new piezometer bores, two additional EC towers and the research interests of the CSIRO, Uni Tas, UNSW and other players in this research domain, with UTS taking the lead role in managing the sites, the data-streams -5 Mbytes of data per day per EC tower- and the inter-institutional collaborations.
The establishment of TERN and additional funding will allow landscape analysis to be undertaken for the first time in Australia and help address issues around climate change and sustainable land use management
Professor Eamus is also involved with the Hawkesbury Forest Experiment - a three year experiment involving growing whole trees in twelve giant climate-controlled chambers. This project has recently received a second round of funding worth $400,000 from the Federal Government's Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry's "Forest Industries Climate Change Research Fund" program. This will support a new experiment to study the response of eucalypt trees to high atmospheric CO2 and warming within the whole-tree chambers. This is the first such experiment in the Southern Hemisphere and involves collaboration of modellers and experimentalists from UWS, UTS, USyd and the NSW Government.