June 2010 newsletter summary

June 2010 - Atlas activities, articles and reports, media releases, conferences and workshops, biodiversity weblinks

From the Director

  • ALA Director, Donald Hobern, recently presented an update on the Atlas of Living Australia at the reception for visitors from the USA Biodiversity Heritage Library.
    Donald’s presentation PDF (3.8MB) emphasises the importance of digitising historic biodiversity literature to make it more accessible and preserving the literature for the future.


  • Lynne Sealie, Communications Manager, ALA, reports on the new ALA starters »
  • Lynne, together with Donald Hobern and Peter Doherty, is currently arranging update visits to ALA’s participant organisations to advise them of ALA’s progress and discuss data use requirements, web searches, web linkages and other developments. Ms Stefanie Pidcock from Terresterial Ecosystem Research Network (TERN) will accompany ALA on visits to Canberra-based Federal Government Departments, including DAFF, DSEWPaC and DIISR, to clarify and discuss TERN’s activities and where they overlap and separate from the ALA’s mandate.

Atlas activities

  • Miles Nicholls, ALA’s Data Manager, is pleased to announce that Birds Australia and Eremaea Birds have agreed to publish their data via the ALA. This will enable the ALA to publish an additional 8+ million Australian bird occurrence records. Based on this data, the new ALA website will feature a theme on birds.
  • Miles is encouraging owners of biodiversity related websites and online information resources to contact the ALA and discuss ALA possibly including some of their information within the ALA – this may be as simple as ALA linking to their websites.
  • Dr Peter Neville, Project Manager for the Directory of Natural History Collections, will soon contact ALA’s Natural History Collection participants requesting that they review the information ALA has collected about their institution, contact details and collections.
    Peter is encouraging ALA’s participants to contact our data mobilisation team, led by Miles Nicholls to discuss ALA data management and licensing.
  • ALA is setting up a Morphbank Australian mirrored node. Morphbank is a scientific image repository.
  • ALA and Museum Victoria have formed a partnership with the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) to establish an Australian BHL node. BHL Australia will store digitised Australian species-related literature.
  • ALA’s Citizen science focus groups and usablity testing are complete. Benay Wettle, ALA’s user-centred design expert has released a detailed report on these activities, titled ‘ALA Citizen Science Focus Group Report’ CS_Focus Group Report V03 PDF (1.3MB).


  • The Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network (TERN) was launched in Brisbane recently.
  • Bush Blitz and the Australian Science Teachers Association has announced a competition to name Australia’s No. 1 new species from a list compiled of the Top 10 new species of 2009.



  • 15th International Congress of Myriapodology, 18-22 July 2011, Brisbane.
    15ICM Flyer (PDF 76KB), 15ICM website.
  • Ecological Society of Australia. Annual Conference 6-10 December 2010, Canberra.
    ESA10: 2010 conference link.
  • Genetics Society of AustralAsia. Annual Conference 4-8 July 2010, Canberra.
    GSA 2010 Flyer (PPT 127KB), GSA conference link.


Related weblinks

By Miles Nicholls and Lynne Sealie, Atlas of Living Australia

The Atlas of Living Australia (ALA) is a joint project between a number of Australian museums, universities, plant and animal collections, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and the Australian Government.

These organisations could see the national benefits of making their biodiversity information more widely accessible, and being able to combine, interrogate and analyse biodiversity information, all online.

Together, they initiated the ALA project to complement and support Australia’s museums and herbaria, biological collections, universities and research organisations, as well as government policy and planning agencies.

Haliaeetus leucogaster, White-bellied Sea-eagle

Haliaeetus leucogaster, White-bellied Sea-eagle
Photo courtesy: Leo Berzins

The ALA project is building an online gateway to biodiversity information from research, literature, observations, maps, images and information from museums and biological collections, including information previously not available to the public.

Being able to combine and analyse this information will help build a more detailed picture of Australia’s biodiversity.

As the Atlas progresses, more tools and services will become available, including identification tools and molecular data. Over time, people across Australia will be able to contribute sightings and pictures of plants, animals and microorganisms; download tools and more …

Sharing your biodiversity information via the ALA will make it more discoverable and useable, and directly assist biological and ecological research, education and decision-making in Australia.

Like to discuss sharing your biodiversity information with the ALA?

The simplest way is to contact Miles Nicholls, ALA Data Manager and we will make it as easy as possible for you to share all, or parts of, your biodiversity information with the ALA.

For more information:
phone: +61 2 6246 4463
alternative email:

See sharing your data with the ALA for more detailed information.