Vertebrate monitoring in the Australian Wet Tropics rainforest at WU11A6 (145.05112545, -16.26044685, 1100.0m above MSL) collected by Reptile Surveys

Rainforest vertebrates have been monitored at permanent monitoring sites across the Australian Wet Tropics rainforest since 1997. Such surveys have been conducted on an ongoing basis across the Spec, Atherton, Windsor, Carbine and Bellenden Ker Uplands from various start dates after 1997 as the scale of sampling expanded to encompass the Wet Tropics region. The Wet Tropics rainforest of North Queensland has the highest biodiversity of any region in Australia. While world heritage listing of the area has prevented ongoing impacts from land clearing, our research suggests that the fauna of the region is highly vulnerable to global climate change. Almost half of the unique rainforest fauna could be lost with an increase in temperature of 3-4 degrees Celsius. This is significant as the IPCC fourth assessment report and regional climate models suggest that we will see between 1.0-4.2 degrees Celsius of warming by the year 2070: potentially causing a catastrophic impact on the world heritage values of the region. Ongoing monitoring of the region seeks to understand patterns of biodiversity and to detect shifts in phenology of the vertebrates of the Wet Tropics rainforest. Vertebrate taxa systematically surveyed include birds, reptiles, microhylid frogs, and mammals (spotlighting). When possible, surveys were conducted during each season (specific survey dates available in data).

    Data Record Details
    Data record related to this publication Vertebrate monitoring in the Australian Wet Tropics rainforest at WU11A6 (145.05112545, -16.26044685, 1100.0m above MSL) collected by Reptile Surveys
    Data Publication title Vertebrate monitoring in the Australian Wet Tropics rainforest at WU11A6 (145.05112545, -16.26044685, 1100.0m above MSL) collected by Reptile Surveys
  • Description

    Rainforest vertebrates have been monitored at permanent monitoring sites across the Australian Wet Tropics rainforest since 1997. Such surveys have been conducted on an ongoing basis across the Spec, Atherton, Windsor, Carbine and Bellenden Ker Uplands from various start dates after 1997 as the scale of sampling expanded to encompass the Wet Tropics region. The Wet Tropics rainforest of North Queensland has the highest biodiversity of any region in Australia. While world heritage listing of the area has prevented ongoing impacts from land clearing, our research suggests that the fauna of the region is highly vulnerable to global climate change. Almost half of the unique rainforest fauna could be lost with an increase in temperature of 3-4 degrees Celsius. This is significant as the IPCC fourth assessment report and regional climate models suggest that we will see between 1.0-4.2 degrees Celsius of warming by the year 2070: potentially causing a catastrophic impact on the world heritage values of the region. Ongoing monitoring of the region seeks to understand patterns of biodiversity and to detect shifts in phenology of the vertebrates of the Wet Tropics rainforest. Vertebrate taxa systematically surveyed include birds, reptiles, microhylid frogs, and mammals (spotlighting). When possible, surveys were conducted during each season (specific survey dates available in data).

  • Other Descriptors
    • Descriptor

      Rainforest vertebrates have been monitored at permanent monitoring sites across the Australian Wet Tropics rainforest since 1997. Such surveys have been conducted on an ongoing basis across the Spec, Atherton, Windsor, Carbine and Bellenden Ker Uplands from various start dates after 1997 as the scale of sampling expanded to encompass the Wet Tropics region. Vertebrate taxa systematically surveyed include birds, reptiles, microhylid frogs, and mammals (spotlighting).

    • Descriptor type Brief
    • Descriptor

      This research has been funded in full or part by the below funding agencies: - Skyrail Rainforest Foundation - Birds Australia - Earthwatch Institute - Marine and Tropical Sciences Research Facility (MTSRF) - National Environmental Research Program (NERP) - Rainforest CRC - Australian Research Council - James Cook University Research Advancement Program (RAP) - Wet Tropics Management Authority (WTMA) - National Geographic - National Science Foundation - Queensland Smart State Program

    • Descriptor type Note
    • Descriptor

      Reptiles were counted during 1 person-hour, and the search was restricted to a 50-m radius of active diurnal examination of the forest floor and vegetation, as well as shelter sites, such as under logs. Surveys were conducted only under warm (air temperature, >22 degrees C) or sunny conditions and never during rain. Sampling criteria were based on regression tree analysis of reptile abundance and environmental conditions (S. E. Williams, unpublished data).

    • Descriptor type Note
  • Data type dataset
  • Keywords
    • Australian Wet Tropics
    • environmental data
    • microclimate
  • Funding source
  • Research grant(s)/Scheme name(s)
    • 15549 - Climate change impacts on tropical rainforest biodiversity
  • Research themes
    Tropical Ecosystems, Conservation and Climate Change
    FoR Codes (*)
    • 050101 Ecological Impacts of Climate Change
    • 060208 Terrestrial Ecology
    SEO Codes
    • 960305 Ecosystem Adaptation to Climate Change
    • 960805 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity at Regional or Larger Scales
    Specify spatial or temporal setting of the data
    Temporal (time) coverage
  • Start Date 1997/12/12
  • End Date
  • Time Period 1997 - ongoing
    Spatial (location) coverage
  • Locations
    Data Locations

    Type Location Notes
    URL https://research.jcu.edu.au/enmasse/1335/data
    Physical Location CC-DAM, James Cook University, Townsville Campus
    The Data Manager is: Stephen Williams
    College or Centre
    Access conditions Restricted: no access
  • Alternative access conditions
  • Data record size
    Citation Williams, Stephen (2013): Vertebrate monitoring in the Australian Wet Tropics rainforest at WU11A6 (145.05112545, -16.26044685, 1100.0m above MSL) collected by Reptile Surveys. James Cook University.