Leading Museums, Museum Leaders

Atlas of Living Aus – Board update

Chair’s Communique Atlas of Living Australia Advisory Board

Meeting#13, October 2021

The 13th meeting of the Atlas of Living Australia (ALA) Advisory Board was held on 29 October 2021. Participants were David Cantrill, Bek Christensen, Ian Cresswell Aaron Dodd, Hamish Holewa, Matt Miles, Toni Moate, Manu Saunders, Grant Nay, Stephen van Leeuwin & Andre Zerger.

New members

Meeting #13 saw us welcome three new members including Dr Manu Saunders (School of Environmental and Rural Sciences, University of New England), Dr Aaron Dodd (Centre for Excellence for Biosecurity Risk Analysis, University of Melbourne), and myself as the incoming Chair. It is imperative we bring a diversity of perspectives to the business of the ALA and we thank Manu and Aaron for joining us.

Director’s update
The ALA Director provided an update on major strategic activities, partnerships and progress since the last meeting in late July 2021. Of particular note:

  • Commencement of the DAWE-supported Multi-Regional Citizen Science Partnership. Projects ALA are managing include a series of BioBlitzes in fire affected areas, prioritising insect specimen digitisation, and developing resources to enable active flora groups to monitor and record information on post-fire botanical surveys.
  • Participation in October’s Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) Governing Boad meeting was rewarding (as always). GBIF provides the ALA an opportunity to connect and ‘calibrate’ our work program with international strategic priorities. We are excited to learn that ALA’s former Board Member Dr Melodie McGeoch was elected to GBIF’s Science Council which is excellent for the ALA and Australia.
  • The release of ALA’s first Year in Review 2020-21 and progress made against the annual workplan.
  • An update on ALA research impact ranging from exploring the impacts of recent megafires on Australian biota, refinement of species distribution models and exploring the extent of invasive species in Australia.
  • The need for a new approach to workforce planning owing to an increasingly competitive IT market. ALA has now established a careers and talent register.

Download the full Communique:

Atlas of Living Australia 2020–21 – Year in Review

Director’s overview

It’s a pleasure to welcome you to the ALA’s Year in Review 2020–21, in which we showcase our achievements and reflect on the significant contributions made by our partners in supporting the mission of the ALA.

This year we celebrated 10 years since the formation of the ALA and recognised the criticality of the Australian Government’s National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) program in shaping and supporting world-class national research infrastructure such as the ALA.

Impact is always a challenge to measure and communicate, but in designing this report and reflecting on the year I was impressed with the ALA’s remarkable reach and the widespread awareness of the ALA. This comes through strongly when we report on the quantum and diversity of research the ALA enables (pages 8–9), the suite of data partners who depend on our infrastructure to broaden the reach of their work, and the remarkable project partnerships that collectively improve our understanding of Australia’s rich biodiversity.

The bushfire crisis of 2019–20 and its impact on our ecosystems highlighted the fundamental role biodiversity plays in Australia and how it is valued. Biodiversity is something we engage with for recreation, value for its intrinsic worth, study to support our science, and rely on for fundamental ecosystem services. In parallel, we are in the midst of a technological revolution where data is an asset, and where scientists and decision-makers demand immediate access to the best available data. The ALA and our partners have adapted remarkably well to these shifts through the development and adoption of technology to better support users and improve our systems. This year in review also tells an important story of innovation, adaptation and evolution.

We hope you enjoy reading our 2020–21 story as much as we’ve enjoyed telling it.

Dr Andre Zerger
ALA Director

Download the full Review:


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