Biodiversity and Adaptation Transect Sydney (BATS)

Staff: Hannah McPherson; Maurizio Rossetto; Brett Summerell; Marlien van der Merwe; Peter D Wilson Students: Joshua Hayes; Susan Rutherford Volunteers: Brendan Molloy; Emma Oldman; Juelian Siow; Christine Smith
Project sponsors:
Australian Research Council (LP110100721) Australian Transect Network
Project partners:
Australian Transect Network (a facility of the Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network), Paul Rymer (UWS)

Project aims

  • BATS is part of and contributes to the Australian Transect Network (ATN) which includes a range of subcontinental transects traversing major environmental gradients from coastal to inland areas. 
  • BATS (and ATN) facilities improve our understanding of what controls the composition of ecosystems, and help us identify and monitor the drivers of change.


Project Summary

We use a landscape-level approach to investigate taxonomic, functional and genetic turn-over along temperature and rainfall gradients traversing nutrient-poor soils in the Sydney region. Specimens (for identification and DNA analyses), abundance estimates, measures of functional diversity, and measures of fungal diversity are being gathered across 40, 50x50 meter plots (16 form part of the AusPlots network). The data is used to assess community diversity and turnover along the environmental gradients. BATS includes a range of subprojects, such as investigations of genomic turnover within selected species.

Researchers interested in the facilities, datasets and/or scientific collaborations are welcome to contact us

Research Update

We are finalising an investigation of population genetic patterns for three co-distributed species, found across temperature, rainfall and latitudinal gradients using genotyping by sequencing (DArTseq). The results confirm the impact of well-known biogeographic barriers on genetic connectivity, despite each species having unique provenance boundaries. We are also comparing whole-genome (DNA) vs. transcriptome (RNA) diversities sampled along the temperature gradient, to investigate landscape-level patterns of neutral versus adaptive variation. 
Preliminary analyses of trait data for over 300 species identified functional turnover patterns relating to growth form along an altitudinal gradient and correlation between species diversity and rainfall