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Environomics

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What is the Environomics Future Science Platform?

A person lying on the ground examing small plants on the edge of a river in a gorge
Environomics will build new ways to see beyond the landscape to its underlying genescape. Credit: Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)

Environomics, short for environmental genomics, is a new CSIRO science program exploring the limits of what is possible at the interface between genomics and environmental science. Environomics is bringing together expertise from across CSIRO and the university sector in molecular biology, ecology, and big data science.

The Environomics FSP is one of eight new Future Science Platforms supported by CSIRO. Capitalising on the genomic technology revolution, Environomics will build new ways to see beyond the landscape to its underlying genescape, to reveal and make use of genetic resources in nature, and to benefit from and care for biodiversity.

Why is this important?

A woman wearing a white shirt walking in a dense forest
New technology allows us to rapidly view entire genomes belonging to wild animals, plants and microbes. Credit: Gary Peeples, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Australia is a mega-diverse country. Our biodiversity is beautiful to behold and immensely valuable. It provides billions of dollars in revenue and jobs, and unique resource for innovation, science and industry.

Hidden within Australia’s biodiversity are genetic resources to enhance crops, new materials for manufacturing and insights into biological processes that can give industries an edge and environmental managers vital insights into how ecosystems work.

For the first time, we can rapidly and inexpensively view and understand the function of entire genomes belonging to wild animals, plants and microbes. Often we can do this for whole ecological communities simultaneously and without even seeing or capturing them. In the near future these tasks will be miniaturised and delivered by autonomous vehicles.

With this new way of observing nature we can:

  • Quickly and accurately identify species and map their distributions
  • Measure the stresses organisms experience and track environmental health
  • Identify novel functions organisms perform within ecosystems, and make use of them

The Environomics Future Science Platform (FSP) will explore these and other emerging applications of genomics to environmental science.


The Environomics FSP leader is Dr Oliver Berry.


Our partners

The Environomics FSP is hosted by CSIRO’s National Collections and Marine Infrastruture (NCMI) business unit and our partners business units are Oceans & Atmosphere, Land & Water, Data61, and NCMI. We also work with staff from the Agriculture and Food business unit.

Our external partners include Bioplatforms Australia , Atlas of Living Australia , Integrated Marine Observing System, Centre for Biodiversity Analysis (ANU) , Curtin University TrEnD Lab, University of Canberra Institute for Applied Ecology, along with international collaboration networks such as 1000 Insects Transcriptomes Project , 10 000 Bird Genomes Project , and the Earth Microbiome Project

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Image credit

Inspect rocks by Tomas Munita at https://www.flickr.com/photos/cifor/35053310294/ under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0. Full terms at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/

Walking through a spruce-fir forest by Gary Peeples at https://www.flickr.com/photos/usfwssoutheast/8125747119/ under a Creative Commons License 2.0. Full terms at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/