Ben Sparrow

Associate Professor Ben Sparrow

Director - TERN Ausplots and Eco-informatics

School of Biological Sciences

Faculty of Sciences


Ben's current research focuses on Environmental Surveillance Monitoring, along with other forms of environmental monitoring. He works extensively on methods and analysis of these surveillance datasets and currently directs the Surveillance monitoring component of TERN's Environmental Research Infrastructure.

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  • Appointments

    Date Position Institution name
    2017 Associate Professor The University of Adelaide
    2016 Director TERN Eco-informatics and AusPlots The University of Adelaide
    2013 Director - TERN Ausplots The University of Adelaide
    2012 - 2013 Science and Technology Lead - TERN MSPN The University of Adelaide
    2010 - 2011 TERN Ausplots Survey Manager The University of Adelaide
    2009 - 2010 Manager - Land Resources South Department of Natural Resources, Environment, the Arts and Sport, NT
    2009 - 2009 Acting Regional Manager - Natural Resources Division NRETAS
    2008 - 2009 Principal Scientist - Land Resources South Land Sciences Branch - NRETAS
    2004 - 2008 Spatial Ecologist - Biodiversity Conservation (South) Parks and Wildlife - NRETAS
    2000 - 2004 Spatial Scientist - Biological Survey and Monitoring Section Department of Environment and Heritage
    1999 - 2002 Part Time Lecturer UniSA- School of Geo-informatics, Planning and Building.
    1997 - 2000 Remote Sensing Specialist, Image Data Section Department of Environment and Heritage
  • Education

    Date Institution name Country Title
    1993 - 1996 The University of Adelaide Australia B.App.Sc (NRM) (Hons.)
  • Research Interests

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  • Journals

    Year Citation
    2019 Hoffmann, A., Rymer, P., Byrne, M., Ruthrof, K., Whinam, J., McGeoch, M., . . . Williams, S. (2019). Impacts of recent climate change on terrestrial flora and fauna: some emerging Australian examples. Austral Ecology, 44(1), 3-27.
    DOI Scopus2 WoS2
    2019 Guerin, G., Andersen, A., Rossetto, M., van Leeuwen, S., Byrne, M., Sparrow, B., . . . Lowe, A. (2019). Consistent sorting but contrasting transition zones in plant communities along bioclimatic gradients. Acta Oecologica, 95, 74-85.
    DOI Scopus1
    2019 Bruelheide, H., Dengler, J., Jiménez-Alfaro, B., Purschke, O., Hennekens, S., Chytrý, M., . . . Lee, M. (2019). sPlot – A new tool for global vegetation analyses. Journal of Vegetation Science, 30(2), 161-186.
    DOI Scopus9 WoS7
    2019 Beland, M., Parker, G., Sparrow, B., Harding, D., Chasmer, L., Phinn, S., . . . Strahler, A. (2019). On promoting the use of lidar systems in forest ecosystem research. Forest Ecology and Management, 450, 1-9.
    DOI
    2019 Guerin, G. R., Martin-Fores, I., Munroe, S. E., Sparrow, B., & Lowe, A. J. (2019). Alien plants alter the growth form ratio and structure of Australian grasslands. APPLIED VEGETATION SCIENCE, 11 pages.
    DOI
    2019 Cleverly, J., Eamus, D., Edwards, W., Grant, M., Grundy, M. J., Held, A., . . . Morris, B. (2019). TERN, Australia's land observatory: addressing the global challenge of forecasting ecosystem responses to climate variability and change. ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH LETTERS, 14(9), 16 pages.
    DOI
    2019 Bastin, J., Finegold, Y., Garcia, C., Gellie, N., Lowe, A., Mollicone, D., . . . Crowther, T. (2019). Response to Comments on “The global tree restoration potential”. Science, 366(6463), 6 pages.
    DOI
    2018 Guerin, G., Martín-Forés, I., Sparrow, B., & Lowe, A. (2018). The biodiversity impacts of non-native species should not be extrapolated from biased single-species studies. Biodiversity and Conservation, 27(3), 785-790.
    DOI Scopus8 WoS7 Europe PMC1
    2018 Guerin, G., Andersen, A., Rossetto, M., van Leeuwen, S., Byrne, M., Sparrow, B., . . . Lowe, A. (2018). When macroecological transitions are a fiction of sampling: comparing herbarium records to plot-based species inventory data. Ecography, 41(11), 1864-1875.
    DOI Scopus1 WoS1
    2018 Guerin, G., O Connor, P., Sparrow, B., & Lowe, A. (2018). An ecological climate change classification for South Australia. Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia, 142(1), 70-85.
    DOI Scopus1
    2018 Guerin, G., Christmas, M., Sparrow, B., & Lowe, A. (2018). Projected climate change implications for the South Australian flora testing title. Swainsona, 30, 25-31.
    2018 Baruch, Z., Caddy-Retalic, S., Guerin, G., Sparrow, B., Leitch, E., Tokmakoff, A., & Lowe, A. (2018). Floristic and structural assessment of Australian rangeland vegetation with standardized plot-based surveys. PLoS ONE, 13(9), e0202073-1-e0202073-18.
    DOI
    2017 Bastin, J., Mollicone, D., Grainger, A., Sparrow, B., Picard, N., Lowe, A., & Castro, R. (2017). Response to comment on "the extent of forest in dryland biomes". Science, 358(6362), 2 pages.
    DOI Scopus1 WoS1
    2017 Lemetre, C., Maniko, J., Charlop-Powers, Z., Sparrow, B., Lowe, A., & Brady, S. (2017). Bacterial natural product biosynthetic domain composition in soil correlates with changes in latitude on a continent-wide scale. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 114(44), 11615-11620.
    DOI Scopus9 WoS7 Europe PMC5
    2017 Bastin, J., Mollicone, D., Grainger, A., Sparrow, B., Picard, N., Lowe, A., & Castro, R. (2017). Response to Comment on “The extent of forest in dryland biomes”. Science, 358(6364), 1 page.
    DOI
    2017 Bastin, J. -F., Mollicone, D., Grainger, A., Sparrow, B., Picard, N., Lowe, A., & Castro, R. (2017). Response to Comment on "The extent of forest in dryland biomes".. Science (New York, N.Y.), 358(6365), 1.
    DOI
    2017 Bastin, J., Berrahmouni, N., Grainger, A., Maniatis, D., Mollicone, D., Moore, R., . . . Castro, R. (2017). The extent of forest in dryland biomes. Science, 356(6338), 635-638.
    DOI Scopus83 WoS78 Europe PMC19
    2017 Lowe, A., Smyth, A., Atkins, K., Avery, R., Belbin, L., Brown, N., . . . Wardle, G. (2017). Publish openly but responsibly. Science, 357(6347), 141.
    DOI Scopus3 WoS4 Europe PMC1
    2017 Guerin, G., Sparrow, B., Tokmakoff, A., Smyth, A., Leitch, E., Baruch, Z., & Lowe, A. (2017). Opportunities for integrated ecological analysis across inland Australia with standardised data from AusPlots Rangelands. PLoS One, 12(1), e0170137-1-e0170137-19.
    DOI Scopus5 WoS6 Europe PMC2
    2016 Tokmakoff, A., Sparrow, B., Turner, D., & Lowe, A. (2016). AusPlots Rangelands field data collection and publication: infrastructure for ecological monitoring. Future Generation Computer Systems, 56, 537-549.
    DOI Scopus7 WoS9
  • Books

  • Book Chapters

    Year Citation
    2014 Lindenmayer, D., Burns, E., Thurgate, N., Lowe, A., Dickman, C., Dormontt, E., . . . Wood, S. (2014). Synopsis. In D. Lindenmayer, E. Burns, N. Thurgate, & A. Lowe (Eds.), Biodiversity and Environmental Change: Monitoring, Challenges and Direction (1 ed., pp. 573-595). Collingwood, Victoria: CSIRO Publishing.
    2014 Sparrow, B., Dormontt, E., Thurgate, N., Burns, E., Lindenmayer, D., & Lowe, A. (2014). Our capacity to tell an Australian ecological story. In D. Lindenmayer, E. Burns, N. Thurgate, & A. Lowe (Eds.), Biodiversity and Environmental Change: Monitoring, Challenges and Direction (1 ed., pp. 49-82). Australia: CSIRO Publishing.
    2014 Ens, E., Burns, E., Russell-Smith, J., Sparrow, B., & Wardle, G. (2014). The cultural imperative: broadening the vision of long-term ecological monitoring to enhance environmental policy and management outcomes. In D. Lindenmayer, E. Burns, N. Thurgate, & A. Lowe (Eds.), Biodiversity and Environmental Change: Monitoring, Challenges and Direction (1 ed., pp. 83-108). Australia: CSIRO Publishing.
    2014 Foulkes, J., de Preu, N., Sinclair, R., Thurgate, N., Sparrow, B., & White, A. (2014). Chenopod and acacia shrublands. In D. Lindenmayer, E. Burns, N. Thurgate, & A. Lowe (Eds.), Biodiversity and Environmental Change: Monitoring, Challenges and Direction (1 ed., pp. 439-478). Collingwood, Victoria, Australia: CSIRO Publishing.
    2012 White, I., Foulkes, J., Sparrow, B., & Lowe, A. (2012). Biodiversity monitoring in the Australian rangelands. In D. Lindenmayer, & P. Gibbons (Eds.), Biodiversity Monitoring in Australia (1 ed., pp. 179-190). Australia: CSIRO Publishing.
  • Conference Papers

    Year Citation
    2017 Guerin, G., Sparrow, B., Tokmakoff, A., Smyth, A., & Leitch, E. (2017). Standardised vegetation survey and monitoring data across the Australian rangelands from TERN AusPlots. In Proceedings of the 19th Australian Rangelands Society Biennial Conference (pp. 1-9). Australia: Australian Rangelands Society.
    2014 Tokmakoff, A., Sparrow, B., Turner, D., & Lowe, A. (2014). AusPlots Rangelands Field Data Collection and Publication: Infrastructure for Ecological Monitoring. In e-Science (e-Science), 2014 IEEE 10th International Conference on Vol. 1 (pp. 249-255). IEEE.
    DOI Scopus2
    2013 Sparrow, B., Ward, B., Armston, J., Schaefer, M., Thurgate, N., van den Hengel, A., . . . Phinn, S. R. (2013). Basal area from photos. In EcoTas. Auckland, NZ..
    2012 Jones, S., Malthus, T., Johansen, K., Held, A., Soto-Berelov, M., & Sparrow, B. (2012). AUSCOVER CALVAL: Towards a National Framework for Calibration and Validation. In The of the International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing Melbourne 25th August to 1st September. Melbourne.
    2011 Caddy-Retalic, S., Sparrow, B. D., White, I. A., Foulkes, J. N., Thurgate, N. Y., & Thackway, R. (2011). AusPlots-Rangelands: integrating science and community knowledge in site selection. In Ecological Society of Australia annual meeting Hobart.
    2011 White, I. A., Foulkes, J. N., Sparrow, B. D., & Lowe, A. J. (2011). AusPlots-Rangelands using traditional and innovative methods to describe biodiversity on the Australian rangelands. In Ecological Society of Australia annual meeting. Hobart, Tasmania..
    2008 Sparrow, B., & Leitch, E. (2008). Producing a Vegetation map for Owen Springs  Regional Reserve.. In 14th Australasian Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry Conference. Darwin.
    2008 Cowan, P., Sparrow, B., & Brock, C. (2008). PDA data collection combined with GPS and GIS technologies leads to improvements in park management.. In 14th Australasian Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry Conference.. Darwin.
    2004 Sparrow, B., & Foulkes, J. (2004). Utilising field survey data to classify Landsat imagery for Vegetation Mapping in Arid SA.. In 13th Biennial Australian Rangeland Society Conference.. Alice Springs.
    2002 Sparrow, B., & Foulkes, J. (2002). Evaluating a method for combining ecological and remote sensing data for structural vegetation mapping.. In 11th Australasian Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry Conference.. Brisbane.
    2002 Treilibs, C., Sparrow, B., Lewis, M., & Grierson, I. (2002). Is Thermal Imagery Useful For Animal Detection?. In 11th Australasian Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry Conference.. Brisbane.
    2000 Cameron, J., Hart, D., & Sparrow, B. (2000). Near Shore Seagrass Change Mapping Using Landsat Thematic Mapper.. In 10th Australasian Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry Conference. Adelaide..
    1998 Sparrow, B., Lewis, M., & Grierson, I. (1998). The Detection of Dryland Salinity using and Airborne Video System.. In 9th Australasian Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry Conference. Sydney.
  • Conference Items

    Year Citation
    2018 Guerin, G. R., O'Connor, P., Sparrow, B., Lowe, A. J., & Rogers, D. (2018). An ecological climate change classification for South Australia. Poster session presented at the meeting of South Australian NRM Science Conference. The University of Adelaide.
    2018 Sparrow, B., & Guerin, G. R. (2018). The biodiversity impacts of non-native species should not be extrapolated from biased single-species studies. Poster session presented at the meeting of 6th SA Weeds Conference. Charles Hawker Conference Centre, Urrbrae..
    2017 Guerin, G. R., Sparrow, B., Tokmakoff, A., Smyth, A., & Leitch, E. (2017). Opportunities for integrated ecological analysis across inland Australia with standardised data from AusPlots Rangelands. Poster session presented at the meeting of The 99% Solution: Implementing the Sustainable Development Goals. ANZSEE (Australian and New Zealand Society for Ecological Economics) Conference. UniSA, Adelaide.
    2017 Sparrow, B., Leitch, E., & Guerin, G. R. (2017). Investing in ecological infrastructure: A surveillance monitoring method for global rangeland ecosystems. Poster session presented at the meeting of The 99% Solution: Implementing the Sustainable Development Goals. ANZSEE (Australian and New Zealand Society for Ecological Economics) Conference. UniSA, Adelaide.
    2017 Leitch, E., Sparrow, B., Macdonald, C., Tokmakoff, A., Guerin, G. R., & O'Neill, S. (2017). Why do ecological communities stop at state borders? AusPlots and the
    need for consistent, national scale, surveillance monitoring
    . Poster session presented at the meeting of Abstract Booklet of the 19th Biennial Conference of the Australian Rangelands Society. Port Augusta, SA: Australian Rangelands Society.
    2017 Guerin, G. R., Sparrow, B., Tokmakoff, A., Smyth, A., & Leitch, E. (2017). Standardised vegetation survey and monitoring data across the Australian
    rangelands from TERN AusPlots
    . Poster session presented at the meeting of Abstract Booklet of the 19th Biennial Conference of the Australian Rangelands Society. Port Augusta, SA: Australian Rangelands Society.
    2015 Baruch, Z., Guerin, G. R., Leitch, E., Tokmakoff, A., Caddy-Retalic, S., Sparrow, B., & Lowe, A. J. (2015). Continental analysis of Australian rangeland vegetation: floristic and structural diversity. Poster session presented at the meeting of Interconnectedness. Ecological Society of Australia Annual Conference 2015. The Hilton Hotel, Adelaide.
    2014 Baruch, Z., Leitch, E., Sparrow, B., Guerin, G. R., Tokmakoff, A., & Lowe, A. (2014). AusPlots Rangelands vegetation communities: First insight on their relationship with the environmental matrix. Poster session presented at the meeting of Ecological Society of Australia 2014 Annual Conference. Alice Springs Convention Centre, Alice Springs.
    2014 Baruch, Z., Leitch, E., Sparrow, B., Guerin, G., Tokmakoff, A., & Lowe, A. (2014). Vegetation communities from AusPlots rangeland sites: First insight on their relationship with the environmental matrix. Poster session presented at the meeting of The Ecological Society of Australia Annual Conference Alice Springs September.
    2014 Leitch, E., Flitton, R., Sparrow, B., Fox, I., Caddy-Retalic, S., & Lowe, A. (2014). AusPlots: Four years of rangelands surveillance. Poster session presented at the meeting of The Ecological Society of Australia Annual Conference. Alice Springs.
    2014 Sparrow, B., Thurgate, N., Lyon, P., O'Neill, S., Wundke, D., Phinn, S., & Christensen, B. (2014). Enhancing long-term surveillance monitoring across Australia. Poster session presented at the meeting of The Ecological Society of Australia Annual Conference. Alice Springs.
    2014 Sparrow, B., Ward, B., Armston, J., Schaefer, M., Muir, J., Tokmakoff, A., . . . Phinn, S. (2014). Collecting Basal area information from field photography. Poster session presented at the meeting of TERENO (Terrestrial Environmental Observatories International Conference). Bonn, Germany.
    2013 Sparrow, B., Ward, B., Armston, J., Schaefer, M., Thurgate, N., van den Hengel, A., . . . Phinn, S. (2013). Basal area from photos - Is it possible?. Poster session presented at the meeting of American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting. San Francisco.
    2013 White, A., Foulkes, J., Sparrow, B., Thurgate, N., Lowe, A., & Tern. (2013). AusPlots Rangelands: Update. A nationally-accepted methods for assessing rangelands condition: Two years of AusPlots Rangelands. Poster session presented at the meeting of TERN Symposium. Canberra.
    2013 Sparrow, B., Dormontt, E., Thurgate, N., Phinn, S., & Lowe, A. (2013). Our capacity to tell an Australian Ecological Story. Poster session presented at the meeting of Intecol. London.
    2013 Armston, J., Newnham, G., Strahler, A. H., Schaaf, C., Danson, M., Gaulton, R., . . . San, M. (2013). Intercomparison of Terrestrial Laser Scanning Instruments for Assessing Forested Ecosystems: Field Experiment. Poster session presented at the meeting of American Geophysical Union Fall December.
    2012 Jones, S., Soto-Berelov, M., Malthus, T., Held, A., Johansen, K., Suarez, L., & Sparrow, B. (2012). A status report on Auscover CALVAL (Australian Activities in Calibration and Validation).. Poster session presented at the meeting of International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Conference. Munich, Germany.
  • Report for External Bodies

    Year Citation
    2015 Wundke, D., Sparrow, B., Thurgate, N. Y., O'Neill, S., & Lowe, A. (2015). Ausplots Rangelands Condition Protocols Manual.
    2015 O'Neill, S., Sparrow, B., Thurgate, N. Y., & Lowe, A. (2015). Ausplots Rangelands Vertebrate Fauna Survey Protocols manual..
    2009 Sparrow, B., & Leitch, E. (2009). Vegetation Survey and Mapping of the Eastern and Southern Finke Bioregion and the Stony Plains Inlier NT and SA: The Department of Natural Resources, Environment, the Arts and Sport.
    2009 Brandle, R., Sparrow, B., Foulkes, J., Robinson, A. C., A.., Cuff, T., . . . South, H. (2009). Survey of the My Willoughby Indigenous Protected: Department for Environment and N Sparrow and P Brocklehurst Vegetation Survey and Mapping of the.
    2009 Cuff, N., Thompson, T., Sparrow, B., & Brocklehurst, P. (2009). Vegetation Survey and mapping of the McArthur River Catchment, Northern Territory.. Department of Natural Resources, Environment, the Arts and Sport.
    2008 Brocklehurst, P., Sparrow, B., Wilson, B., Clark, M., A.., & The, E. (2008). Scoping Paper: Scale Vegetation Map of the Northern Territory: Department of Natural Resources and Sport.
    2006 Neave, H., Sparrow, B., & Clifford, B. (2006). Preliminary Report: Towards a Resource Assessment of the Burt Plain Bioregion for Conservation Planning.. Department of Natural Resources, Environment, the Arts and Sport..

NCRIS/TERN Surveillance Program 01/18 - 06/19 Funding - $2,100,000

Department of Industry, Innovation and Science - Citizen Science Grant - Wild Orchid Watch - 3 Years - $484770

NSW OEH 17/18 - Photopoints for Biodiversity Monitoring - $150000

NCRIS/TERN 07/17 - 12/17 Funding - $280500 Ausplots, $ 328,950 Eco-informatics

United Nations, Food and Agricultural Organisation, Australian component of the Global Drylands Assessment. Grant -  $20,000 USD

NCRIS/TERN 16/17 Funding - $561,000 Ausplots, $657,000 Eco-informatics

NCRIS/TERN 15/16 Funding - $550,000 Ausplots

NCRIS/TERN 2 (1/14 – 6/15) - $600,000 Ausplots

NCRIS/TERN 2013 – $1.6m (Ausplots component $207,000).

Pilbara Corridors 15/16 Surveys - $82,000

Pilbara Corridors 16/17 Surveys and Training - $100,000

Department of Parks and Wildlife (WA) Swan Coastal Plains Surveys - $35,000

NERP Emerging priorities fund (14/15): Enhancing ecosystem surveillance across Australia (Including developing condition, woodlands and fauna monitoring protocols for Australia – Co- Chief Investigator ($588 000)

TERN Competitive supplemental funding round (2013): – Assessing Biomass using photography, Terrestrial Lidar and field measures – Chief Investigator ($78,000)

Adelaide University DVC-R Cross Disciplinary Research fund (2013): Developing ecological analysis from 3D photo points – Chief investigator ($31,000).

NHT: Vegetation mapping in Northern Australia project 07 / 09 – McArthur River, and Daly River regions. ($360,000)  and Vegetation mapping in Central Australia (Owen Springs Reserve and Eastern Finke Bioregion ($200,000) – Principal Investigator (South)

 

Ben has no current teaching role. He is available for guest lectures on different environmental monitoring types, Surveillance monitoring, Integrating Remote Sensing with ecological data and on his current AusPlots and Eco-informatics roles. Ben is also available to Supervise Honours students and co-supervise PhD students.  He has previously taught Earth Observations, Remote Sensing, GIS, Terrain Information Systems, Photogrammetry and GPS at UniSA.

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  • Other Supervision Activities

    Date Role Research Topic Location Program Supervision Type Student Load Student Name
    2018 - 2019 Co-Supervisor Assessment of the Within-Site and Between-Site Spatial Heterogeneity of Soils using Mid-Infrared Spectroscopy The University of Adelaide School of Agriculture, Food and Wine Honours Full Time Ruby Hume
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  • Committee Memberships

    Date Role Committee Institution Country
    2016 - ongoing Member Enabling ecosystem surveillance working group Ecosystem Science Council Australia
    2015 - ongoing Member Drylands Working Group Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), The United Nations (UN)
    2015 - ongoing Member Terrestrial Laser Scanning International interest Group
    2008 - 2010 Chair Convenor - 15th Australasian Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry Conference Surveying and Spatial Sciences Institute Australia
  • Position: Director - TERN Ausplots and Eco-informatics
  • Phone: 83131201
  • Email: ben.sparrow@adelaide.edu.au
  • Campus: Waite
  • Building: John Davies, floor M
  • Room: M 03A
  • Org Unit: School of Biological Sciences

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