Thank you for your interest in the Australian Museum’s Lizard Island Research Station – and for supporting science to advance our knowledge of reef conservation. We’re delighted to bring you our quarterly update. We also ask if you haven’t renewed your support as a LIRRF Member or Friend please consider doing so. Options are available at lirrf.org/donate.
The fellowships and grants program will resume this year, following last year’s pause, and applications will be soon sought for research to be undertaken in 2022. These awards, providing funding for field-intensive research, are highly sought. They support excellent research that increases our understanding of coral reefs and they significantly shape the development of early career scientists. To date, 140 fellowships have been awarded, supported by $2.27 million in donor funding.
While COVID has profoundly impacted researchers’ schedules, Station bookings are picking up as Australian based researchers become more comfortable to commit to travel. However some Australian universities assess the risk of snap lockdowns as too high for their staff and students to travel interstate. And international researchers – who normally make up a third to half of Station residents – are absent.
After years of planning, the solar power system at the Station has been substantially upgraded and solar now produces up to 95% of the Station’s electrical needs over the year. Before the installation of any solar, the Station used up to 45,000 litres of diesel annually, and prior to the recent upgrade, 12,000 litres per year. This initiative reduces C02 emissions substantially, as well as costs of fuel, transport and servicing generators.
Education is an important part of the Station’s fabric and readers may recall the cancellation of last year’s inaugural Coral Reef Study Tour – an initiative supporting 16 selected NSW government school students (and 2 biology teachers) to partake in 9 days of immersive coral reef studies. We’re pleased to say this trip is rescheduled for December this year.
In March we reported that a mass bleaching event in the Lizard area was narrowly avoided this summer, thanks to timely change in weather patterns and nearby cyclonic activity. Coral recovery continues to amaze and reefs in the area are now looking fantastic in many places.
Below you’ll find a link to the Station’s annual report, highlighting the past year’s activities including inspiring photos of marine life and researchers in the field. We also highlight a recent interview with Station co-director Dr Anne Hoggett AM.
We remind our LIRRF members (those who donate more than $1000 in the last 12 months) that they qualify for a 20% discount on a stay of 3 or more nights at the luxurious Lizard Island Resort. We thank Delaware North, the Resort’s operator, for this generous discount and please contact us for more details.
We thank all our supporters. The Station is one of the world’s best facilities for field research on coral reefs and it’s vital this research continues to be funded.
Solar Power Upgrade : Towards Zero
After years of planning, the solar power system at LIRS was upgraded and expanded in April 2021. That was one of the wettest periods this year which made installation of the new system by Tropical Energy Solutions (Townsville) very challenging.
Why Do Gobies and Corals Live Together?
Why do gobies remain in their corals and what does the coral get out of it? It turns out that coral gobies and their corals have a mutually beneficial relationship whereby they each benefit from each other’s presence.
An inspiring video of a recent LIRS student trip
An inspiring video by a Student Group from Emmanuel Anglican College in Ballana during their recent Marine Research Trip to Lizard Island on the Great Barrier Reef (2021).