The Daintree Rainforest Observatory offers researchers access to range of ecosystems.
The DRO is within striking distance of the highly diverse upland rain forests of Mt Lewis, Carbine Tablelands and Thornton Peak, with their iconic endemic mountain-top biota.
The DRO's location in the Daintree rainforest makes it the ideal place to examine all aspects of lowland rainforest. Within the survey plot, every tree is identified and categorised. A sophisticated sensor network constantly collects data covering tree morphology, sap flow, soil moisture levels, and other factors.
The DRO's canopy crane offers researchers access to the spaces beyond the rainforest canopy. A weather station is continuously monitoring conditions at the top of the crane.
Precise control over the canopy crane's gondola gives researchers access to every layer of the Daintree's irregular canopy. Power and data connections are available for equipment installations.
Carefully constructed pathways through the rainforest provide simple access to the rainforest understorey, which is also extensively monitored for biophysical conditions.
Leaf litter processes form an important part of rainforest function. Litter fall is monitored at the DRO across several hundred litter traps, providing information about phenology of fruiting, flowering and leaf fall.
Sensors provide continuous information about soil moisture at the DRO, with sites established for measurement of soil respiration.
Thompson Creek flows through the DRO, bounding the crane arc. This seasonally flowing creek with permanent water holes is home to a diverse stream frog and invertebrate fauna and has a notched weir installed for automatic flow measurement.
The DRO site is less than 2 km from mangroves fringing the Daintree's beaches and around 15 minutes drive from extensive, diverse rainforest/mangrove systems along multiple estuaries.
The iconic beaches of Cape Tribulation are around 3 km from DRO, providing access to littoral forests and a range of intertidal environments.