tern eco survPerched 30m above the Daintree Rainforest, Australia’s latest piece of high-tech environmental surveillance kit is keeping watch. 24 hours a day TERN’s camera feeds time-lapse images of vegetation to researchers to monitor the timing of vegetation development, including flowering, fruiting and leaf lifecycle—known as phenology. The data allows scientists to analyse the direction and magnitude of changes to vegetation phenology due to climate change and extreme weather events, such as cyclones and droughts. Perhaps surprisingly though, this camera—TERN’s new Sentinal Phenocam—doesn’t cost the Earth it monitors.

In fact, thanks partly to its low price, experts including Dr Tim Brown of the Australian Plant Phenomics Facility, ANU node, are predicting that this new phenocam technology will facilitate the expansion of environmental surveillance systems all around the nation. “I’m really excited about this new technology,” said Tim. “Bringing the costs down and increasing ease of use opens up so many exciting new applications. “This technology is well suited to large-scale research projects, smaller-scale environmental monitoring programs and enabling citizen science projects.” Read More