The Alice Mulga SuperSite is located on Pine Hill Cattle Station approximately 200 km north of Alice Springs, Northern Territory. It lies in the expansive arid and semi-arid portion of mainland Australia that receives less than 500 mm of annual rainfall. The site includes Mulga woodland, hummock grassland, and river red gum forest. The SuperSite Core 1 ha is located in a dense Mulga woodland (cover 70–80%). The SuperSite has a second OzFlux tower at Ti Tree East where AusPlots are also located in a mosaic of hummock grassland/Corymbia savanna with patches of Mulga/tussock grass. A third study location in the SuperSite is a river red gum forest along the Woodforde river where sapflux sensors are installed.
- Vegetation type: low open woodland - Mulga (Acacia aneura) and non-Acacia
- Soils: eutrophic red kandosol
- Elevation: approx. 560 m
- Rainfall: 280 mm/yr
- T mean: 30°C
Understanding the carbon, water and energy fluxes of arid and semi-arid zones will contribute to better land management as well as improved modelling of Australian weather, climate variability and the response of these zones to climate change.
Key research objectives
- to examine the daily, seasonal and inter-annual patterns of energy, carbon and water fluxes of a central Australian arid-zone Mulga site and approx. 30 km east a non-Acacia dominated low open woodland site
- to establish the responses and biological controls of energy, carbon and water fluxes to pulses of rain
- to compare and contrast the behaviour of the soil, understorey and overstorey to pulses of rain by partitioning the fluxes between these three components of the ecosystem
- to examine the impact of variation in soil moisture content (at multiple depths) and atmospheric vapour pressure deficit on the ecophysiology of the understorey and overstorey
- to examine the influence of antecedent conditions on vegetation
- to examine the resilience of woody vegetation in relation to high interannual weather variation and unpredictable events (flood, drought)
- SuperSites core 1 ha (100 m x 100 m) is located within the fetch of the flux tower and is the focal site of recurrent monitoring and also an AusPlots plot (NTABRT0002).
- two eddy-covariance flux towers (OzFlux system)
- sapflux sensors
- series of bores with nested piezometers
- acoustic monitor
TERN AusPlots sites in the Alice Mulga SuperSite
There are 6 AusPlots sites in the Alice Mulga SuperSite.
|NTABRT0001||Acacia aneura shrubland on red earth|
|NTABRT0002 (Core 1 ha plot)||Acacia aneura shrubland on red earth|
|NTABRT0003||Acacia aneura shrubland on sand|
|NTABRT0004||Acacia aptaneura tall shrubland with isolated emergent Corymbia opaca. Tussock grass/hummock grass ground layer of Aristida holathera and Triodia schinzii|
|NTABRT0005||Triodia schinzii, hummock grassland with Paraneurachne muelleri, Eragrostis eriopoda subsp. Red earth and Aristida holathera. Scattered emergent Corymbia opaca|
|NTABRT0006||Acacia aptaneura tall open shrubland with scattered emergent Corymbia opaca. A tussock grass understory of Paraneurachne muelleri. Some scattered sparse clumps of Triodia schinzii in more open areas.|
TERN AusCover activities at the Alice Mulga SuperSite
AusCover has run airborne LiDAR and hyperspectral campaigns at the Alice Mulga SuperSite with ground calibration with SLATS star transects, leaf sampling, tree structure and LAI measures. Phenocams are installed on the flux tower to Integrate flux measurements and phenology to understand the impacts of climate change on Australian landscapes.
Slideshare presentation Phenocam Network: Australian Phenology Product Validation: Phenocam Network. 2014. K. Davies, M. Liddell, N. Weiand, C. Macfarlane, J. Byrne, V. R. des Dios, M. Boer, C. Maeir, N. Boulain, J. Cleverly, D. Eamus, G. Koerber, W. S. Meyer.
TERN eMAST activities at the Alice Mulga SuperSite
Plant ecophysiological measurements are being collected across a number of the TERN SuperSites including Alice Mulga by Owen Atkin's team (ANU) in a collaboration with TERN's eMAST facility. The aim is to look at ecosystem hydrology, net CO2 exchange and primary productivity in wet/dry and winter/summer.
TERN OzFlux at the Alice Mulga SuperSite
OzFlux maintains the flux tower instrumentation that continuously measures exchanges of carbon dioxide, water vapour and energy between the terrestrial ecosystem and atmosphere.
There are two flux towers operating at the Alice Mulga SuperSite, "Alice Springs Mulga" (at the core 1 ha) and "Ti Tree East".
Flux data is available from the OzFlux data portal.
Postgraduate Projects and Post-docs associated with the Alice Mulga SuperSite
- Tonantzin Tarin Terrazas (PhD candidate), Supervisor Prof. D. Eamus (UTS)
- Dr Rachel Nolan, Prof D. Eamus (UTS)
- Dr Nadia Santini. Prof D. Eamus (UTS)
- Dr Natalia Restrepo, Prof Alfredo Huete (UTS). Integrating remote sensing, landscape flux measurements, and phenology to understand the impacts of climate change on Australian landscapes.
Presentations on the Alice Mulga SuperSite
Stable isotope (13C) analyses of vegetation across Australia. 2013. D. Eamus, R. Rumman, T. Wyczesany.