The Daintree node comprises two sites (i) the Daintree Rainforest Observatory (DRO) at Cape Tribulation, comprising a long-term monitoring sites, canopy crane, and extensive researcher and teaching infrastructure and (ii) research facilities at the Daintree Discovery Centre at Cow Bay, an award winning ecotourism interpretive centre featuring a canopy tower, aerial walkway and scientific monitoring.

Daintree Rainforest Observatory Cape Tribulation

This site lies 120 km north of Cairns. The Daintree Rainforest Observatory was established with ARC Infrastructure funding (REIFP) in 1998 and the 1 ha census plot was established in 2000 along with the installation of a construction crane in the forest (referred to as the Australian Canopy Crane).

Around 200 scientists have worked on site covering a range of topics from characterising bacteria in the soil, IR mapping the canopy to radio-tracking Melomys cervinipes in the canopy at night. The biophysical environment has been extensively studied. A weather station was installed in 1999, flux station in 2001, soil pit in 2007 and bores in 2008.

Site Details

  • Forest type: Complex Mesophyll Vine Forest (CMVF) 20 – 35 m canopy
  • Soils: acidic, dystrophic, brown dermosol and colluvial gravels
  • Elevation: 65 m
  • Rainfall: 5143 mm
  • T mean: 24.4 C

Infrastructure

  • laboratory/accommodation complex
  • manager’s quarters
  • solar powered facility
  • all weather access road

SuperSite installations

  • 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
  • carbon dioxide and water flux station (OzFlux eddy flux covariance)
  • weather station
  • water quality sensors
  • gauging station to measure discharge
  • soil water content, soil water potential, soil temperature sensors
  • dendrometer bands
  • phenocams (2 above canopy, 1 under canopy)
  • sap flow system
  • acoustic sensor
  • logging bore

Additional installations

  • canopy crane
  • large scale sap flow system

Far North Queensland Rainforest - Daintree Ancillary Datasets

TERN OzFlux Data - Far North Queensland Rainforest SuperSite, Daintree, Cow Bay 2009

TERN OzFlux Data - Far North Queensland Rainforest SuperSite, Daintree, Cow Bay 2010

TERN OzFlux Data - Far North Queensland Rainforest SuperSite, Daintree, Cape Tribulation 2011

TERN OzFlux Data - Far North Queensland Rainforest SuperSite, Daintree, Cow Bay 2011

TERN OzFlux Data - Far North Queensland Rainforest SuperSite, Daintree, Cape Tribulation 2012

TERN OzFlux Data - Far North Queensland Rainforest SuperSite, Daintree, Cow Bay 2012

TERN OzFlux Data - Far North Queensland Rainforest SuperSite, Daintree, Cape Tribulation 2013

TERN OzFlux Data - Far North Queensland Rainforest SuperSite, Daintree, Cow Bay 2013

TERN OzFlux Data - Far North Queensland Rainforest SuperSite, Daintree, Cape Tribulation 2014

TERN OzFlux Data - Far North Queensland Rainforest SuperSite, Daintree, Cow Bay 2014

TERN OzFlux Data - Far North Queensland Rainforest SuperSite, Daintree, Cape Tribulation 2015

TERN OzFlux Data - Far North Queensland Rainforest SuperSite, Daintree, Cow Bay 2015

TERN OzFlux Data - Far North Queensland Rainforest SuperSite, Daintree, Cape Tribulation 2016

TERN OzFlux Data - Far North Queensland Rainforest SuperSite, Daintree, Cow Bay 2016

FLUXNET Eddy Covariance Data - Far North Queensland Rainforest SuperSite, Daintree, Cape Tribulation

FLUXNET Eddy Covariance Data - Far North Queensland Rainforest SuperSite, Daintree, Cow Bay

Soil Biodiversity, Bioplatforms Australia - Far North Queensland Rainforest SuperSite, Daintree, Cape Tribulation, 2013

Contact the DRO for information about access to collected Sensor data (automated dendrometer bands, sap flow meters) and leaf litter trap data.

Present and Past Projects - Daintree Rainforest Observatory

  • Understanding forest level response to climatic drivers: Atmospheric carbon and water fluxes and climate variability. Assoc. Prof Michael Liddell, James Cook University.
  • The differential effect of climate change on the physiological controls on rainforest tree productivity and water use efficiency. Dr Will Edwards, James Cook University, Peter Byrnes, James Cook University.
  • Below ground fluxes of carbon and water in response to climate. Dr Paul Nelson, James Cook University.
  • Magnitude and causes of inter-and intra- annual variation in insect population and how they relate to ecosystem productivity and climate variability. Prof Nigel Stork, Melbourne University, Dr Peter Grimbacher, Melbourne University.
  • Flowering and fruiting phenology in lowland rainforest and how it correlates with fluctuations in climatology. Prof Carolyn Gross, University of New England, Peter Byrnes, James Cook University.
  • Linking changes in phloem flux to environmental variables in two tropical forest canopy tree species. Dr Alexander Cheesman (Post Doc), James Cook University.
  • What drives isoprene emissions in the tropics? Prof Peter Nelson, Rebecca Wilson (PhD Candidate), Macquarie University.
  • Daintree drought experiment. Associate Prof Susan Laurance, James Cook University.
  • How does your garden grow? Scaling functional traits to whole-plant growth. Dr Lucas Cernusak, James Cook University.
  • Diversity of scale insects in Australian rainforest canopies. Assoc. Professor Geoffrey Morse, University of San Diego, and Professor Benjamin Normark, University of Massachusetts.
  • The role of historical and future climate change in shaping the distribution and evolution of rainforest ants. Dr Corrie Moreau, Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago.
  • A comparative study of photo-protective responses in the leaves of tropical trees during a wet-dry seasonal transition. Dr Raymond Dempsey, James Cook University.
  • Plants and endophytes: sensitive to drought. Kaylene Bransgrove (PhD Student), James Cook University.
  • Investigating site occupancy and detectability of rainforest birds across fragmented and interior forest habitats. Emily Morshuis (Masters Student), Imperial College London.
  • How do the number and types of forest edge affect rain forest bird communities in Queensland? Montague Neate-Clegg (Masters Student), Imperial College London.
  • The interaction between lianas and trees in lowland rainforest: a first time canopy survey. Casey Cox (Honours Student), James Cook University.
  • Comparing the water-use strategies of lianas and trees in a lowland tropical rainforest. Genevieve Buckton (Honours Student), James Cook University.
  • Small-scale Structure of the Forest Canopy from Ground-based Lidar Measurements. Geoffrey Parker, Smithsonian Environmental Research Centre, United States.
  • Fine-scale Measurement of Three-dimensional Forest Canopy Structure Using the Canopy Crane and Laser Plane Range-finding Method. Takafumi Tanaka, Nagoya university, Japan, Steve Turton, James Cook University.
  • Diversity and Composition of Beetle Communities. Nigel Stork, Melbourne University, Peter Grimbacher, Griffith University.
  • The Reproductive Biology of Two Species of Syzygium. Sarah Boulter, Griffith University.
  • The World Herbivory Project. Angela Moles, Macquarie University, Will Edwards, James Cook University.
  • Vertical distribution of small canopy mammals and their impact upon seed survivorship. Romina Rader, James Cook University.
  • Fruiting Phenology of a Lowland Rainforest Community: Patterns and Adaptations. Christian Geyer, The University of Leipzig, Germany.
  • Stomatal Control and Hydraulic Conductance with Special Reference to Tall Trees. Peter Franks, James Cook University.

More at: http://www.jcu.edu.au/daintree

Photosphere view from inside the rainforest at the DRO (photo M. Liddell)

Danielle Creek and Lingling Zhu (from Owen Atkin's lab at ANU) carrying out plant physiology measurements at the crane site
(Photo P. Byrnes)

Daintree Discovery Centre, Cow Bay

The The Daintree Discovery Centre at Cow Bay is an award-winning ecotourism interpretive centre that allows visitors to access the rainforest canopy on a 23 m canopy tower and aerial walkway.

Site Details

  • Forest type: Complex Mesophyll Vine Forest (CMVF) 20 – 35 m canopy
  • Soils: acidic, dystrophic, brown dermosol
  • Elevation: 86 m
  • Rainfall: 4425 mm
  • T mean: 24.0 C
SuperSite installations
  • 1 ha (100 m x 100 m) is located within the fetch of the flux tower and is the focal site of recurrent monitoring
  • carbon dioxide and water flux station (Ozflux eddy flux covariance)
  • weather station
  • phenocams (3 above canopy, 1 undercanopy)
  • soil water content, soil water potential, soil temperature sensors
  • logging bores

The tower hosts OzFlux eddy covariance instrumentation, weather station and phenocams and the CSIRO monitors a 1 ha plot of rainforest on site.