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Introducing BASE: the Biomes of Australian Soil Environments soil microbial diversity database

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posted on 2023-02-24, 04:50 authored by A Bissett, A Fitzgerald, T Meintjes, Pauline MelePauline Mele, F Reith, PG Dennis, MF Breed, B Brown, MV Brown, J Brugger, M Byrne, S Caddy-Retalic, B Carmody, DJ Coates, C Correa, BC Ferrari, VVSR Gupta, K Hamonts, Asha HaslemAsha Haslem, P Hugenholtz, M Karan, J Koval, AJ Lowe, S Macdonald, L McGrath, D Martin, M Morgan, KI North, C Paungfoo-Lonhienne, E Pendall, L Phillips, R Pirzl, JR Powell, MA Ragan, S Schmidt, N Seymour, I Snape, JR Stephen, M Stevens, M Tinning, K Williams, YK Yeoh, CM Zammit, A Young
Background: Microbial inhabitants of soils are important to ecosystem and planetary functions, yet there are large gaps in our knowledge of their diversity and ecology. The 'Biomes of Australian Soil Environments' (BASE) project has generated a database of microbial diversity with associated metadata across extensive environmental gradients at continental scale. As the characterisation of microbes rapidly expands, the BASE database provides an evolving platform for interrogating and integrating microbial diversity and function. Findings: BASE currently provides amplicon sequences and associated contextual data for over 900 sites encompassing all Australian states and territories, a wide variety of bioregions, vegetation and land-use types. Amplicons target bacteria, archaea and general and fungal-specific eukaryotes. The growing database will soon include metagenomics data. Data are provided in both raw sequence (FASTQ) and analysed OTU table formats and are accessed via the project's data portal, which provides a user-friendly search tool to quickly identify samples of interest. Processed data can be visually interrogated and intersected with other Australian diversity and environmental data using tools developed by the 'Atlas of Living Australia'. Conclusions: Developed within an open data framework, the BASE project is the first Australian soil microbial diversity database. The database will grow and link to other global efforts to explore microbial, plant, animal, and marine biodiversity. Its design and open access nature ensures that BASE will evolve as a valuable tool for documenting an often overlooked component of biodiversity and the many microbe-driven processes that are essential to sustain soil function and ecosystem services.


This program was funded by Bioplatforms Australia through the Australian Government National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) and Education Investment Fund (EIF) Super Science Initiative; the Cotton Research and Development Corporation (RDC); the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation; the Department of the Environment through the Director of National Parks; the Department of Parks and Wildlife, Western Australia; the Grains RDC (Soil Biology Initiative-II); the South Australian Grains Industry Trust (SAGIT); and the Science and Industry Endowment Fund (SIEF). Support for components of field sample collection was provided by the Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network (TERN) facilities: Ausplots, the Australian Transect Network and the Australian Supersite Network.


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© 2016 Bissett et al. Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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