The Australian Ecological Knowledge and Observation System (AEKOS) is an online repository for Australia’s rich ecological data. The facility has partnered with a range of institutional data custodians to make ecological “plot” data (including quadrats, transects, pitfall traplines, cage trap arrays, and other systematic collection methods) more widely available to researchers. In the future, AEKOS will also enable individual researchers to store and publish their data.
Our goal is to create a system that brings ecological data together at a national level. This will enable researchers to work more efficiently with integrated data so that the majority of their time can be devoted to undertaking excellent science and producing novel outcomes that address national environmental challenges. For the first time, researchers will be able to access the full richness of existing data including the knowledge necessary for correct interpretation and reuse.
The AEKOS system (Fig. 1) is data infrastructure that brings systematic ecological data together from across the nation and provides this through a single point of access. The system will consist of a fit-for-purpose repository, a sophisticated data portal, a researcher data submission tool, and enables forwarding of information to the Atlas of Living Australia (ALA) and the Australian National Data Service (ANDS).
As part of development, a national framework for ecological data is being formulated, using our understanding of significant ecological datasets from major data custodians (e.g. State/Territory agencies). The framework will also support key facilities of TERN's Multi-Scale Plot Network (MSPN) (101) such as AusPlots (41).