The CSIRO Tropical Ecosystems Research Centre (TERC), Darwin

The CSIRO Tropical Ecosystems Research Centre

Darwin: Berrimah, NT (Darwin laboratory)

The CSIRO Darwin laboratory provides a focus for ecological and socioeconomic research underpinning sustainable land management in northern Australia.

  • 14 December 2005 | Updated 17 June 2014

CSIRO's Darwin laboratory is located in the suburb of Berrimah in Darwin, the capital of the Northern Territory of Australia.

Known as the Tropical Ecosystems Research Centre (TERC), the laboratory has served as a focus for research in the seasonal tropics of northern Australia for more than 40 years.

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CSIRO’s Tropical Savannas research team of 30 staff and students is based in Darwin. The team is part of CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences’ Ecology Program.

The Darwin team conducts integrative ecological and socio-economic research to inform sustainable land management and regional development in Australia’s tropical savannas, with a particular emphasis on Indigenous lands.

The team’s ecological research aims to predict how savanna ecosystems vary in relation to rainfall and soils, and how they respond to land management, especially fire and grazing. Its socio-economic research aims to identify the full range of ecological, social, cultural and economic values of land and water, and to incorporate them in land and water management.

The laboratory has been a key centre for tropical environmental and agricultural research in the Top End for more than 40 years.

The Darwin team has a particular commitment to engaging effectively with Indigenous stakeholders, and has developed capacity to do this by recruiting specialist staff and by enhancing its relationships with Indigenous organisations and local communities.

In Darwin, CSIRO’s research focuses on four areas:

  1. Savanna burning
  2. Indigenous National Resource Management
  3. Invertebrate biodiversity and ecosystem function
  4. Rangeland ecology and management.
Darwin 2013 Achievements Report

This 60 page report is a summary of research and communication achievements by tropical savanna researchers at CSIRO in Darwin, Northern Territory.


CSIRO Science Education Centre

The Darwin Science Education Centre (CSIROSEC) is the hub for CSIRO’s science education programs in the Northern Territory, and is a partnership with the Northern Territory Department of Education and Training.

It includes a laboratory/classroom where science demonstrations and hands-on programs are held for visiting school groups. The Darwin CSIROSEC is also home to the ‘Lab on Legs’ program that takes engaging science programs and demonstrations to schools around the Northern Territory.

Field Research Site

One of the largest and best preserved areas of remnant tropical savanna woodland in the Darwin urban area is located at the CSIRO Darwin site. The ten hectare site has been the focus of more than 40 collaborative research projects in the last 15 years.

Seminar and Meeting Rooms

The facilities at CSIRO in Darwin include a large seminar room and a smaller meeting room, which are available for use by CSIRO staff and also for external hire. Tables, chairs, data projectors, white boards and flip charts are provided.


The CSIRO library in Darwin offers a range of services to staff, scientific researchers and, by appointment, to the general public. The collection's subject emphasis is on plant and animal ecology of northern Australia.

CSIRO Darwin ant collection

The Darwin laboratory holds the world’s most extensive collection of Australian ants, with more than 5,000 (mostly undescribed) species. It supports most of the ecological work conducted on ants in Australia.

CSIRO Tropical Ecosystems Research Centre: ant reference collection

The CSIRO Tropical Ecosystems Research Centre (TERC) in Darwin in the Northern Territory holds the world’s most extensive collection of Australian ants.

Find out more about CSIRO's Ecosystem Sciences research.