ecocloud: Benefitting Ecoscience Researchers Globally

ecocloud provides its users with an easy-to-access online platform to large volumes of curated data and tools using the Nectar Research Cloud and virtual laboratory technology.

The EcoScience Research Data Cloud and Data enhanced Virtual Laboratory (ecocloud) project is a collaborative effort supported by the Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC). Described as a complete online environment that works the way ecologists do, ecocloud provides its users with an easy-to-access online platform to large volumes of curated data and tools using the Nectar Research Cloud and virtual laboratory technology.

With a focus on maturing the existing services and infrastructure, increasing the user base through engagement and training and strategically aligning the program for potential future partnerships, ecocloud provides a trusted collaboration vehicle across key partners within the ecosciences domain. Due to its success, it has also benefited other domains such as humanities, arts and social sciences (HASS), by sharing its workbench framework.

The project worked to bring together good quality ecological and biodiversity data and expose them to methods and tools to analyse the interaction between biodiversity and the environment. With a couple of clicks, you can have a server running in the cloud with R (including RStudio) or Python with live connections to GitHub, Google Drive and Dropbox. You can also spawn a ready-to-go virtual desktop using Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network’s (TERN) Collaborative Environment for Scholarly Research and Analysis (CoESRA) which includes software such as Quantum Geographic Information System (QGIS) and Biodiverse.

ecocloud removes the challenges mostly associated with the accessibility, visibility and interoperability of data hosted in disparate places, and the technical capacity, computation and analysis needs of those interpreting the data. The ecocloud Platform launched in September 2018, and already has more than 260 users across Australia, and even some from international Universities.

The stories below from local researchers detail how having access to the ecocloud has benefited their research or teaching capacity:

  • Dr Serena Lee is using ecocloud to optimise her code and access prepared datasets for data modelling. Read more about Dr Lee’s work via TERN, one of ecocloud’s many project partners[1].
  • Dr Nestor Bosch Guerra’s has been using ecocloud to access large amounts of compute, experiencing power beyond anything his standard desktop can do. Read more about Dr Bosch Guerra’s work.
  • Dr Tim Langlois and his students instantly access and use ecocloud, saving them time in a computer lab. Read more about Dr Langlois’ work.

Find out more information about collaboration between the ARDC and ecocloud or try out the ecocloud environment.

The ecocloud is a project partially funded by the ARDC in 2018, with continuity funding granted for the first half of 2019. We are proud to be supporting projects like this that help transform the way our communities conduct their research.


  1. In addition to the ARDC, the ecocloud project is also supported by the implementation partner, Queensland Cyber Infrastructure Foundation (QCIF), and the following project partners:

    • Atlas of Living of Australia
      Australian Plant Phenomics Facility
    • Biodiversity and Climate Change Virtual Laboratory
    • CSIRO Land & Water – Environmental Informatics
    • Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences
    • Department of Environment and Energy
    • eResearch South Australia Limited
    • Fenner School of Environment and Society
      Griffith University
    • National Computational Infrastructure
    • Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network.

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