LIRRF Spring 2020 Update
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Thank you for supporting scientific research on our Great Barrier Reef.

Following a 5 month closure the Australian Museum’s Lizard Island Research Station reopened to researchers in mid-August.  Over the past 6 weeks projects have included vision in mantis shrimps (stomatopods) and octopuses, methods to better detect Crown of Thorns Starfish and the impacts of elevated CO2 in seawater on fish behaviour.  A project by international scientists monitoring the level of new coral recruits is being maintained with assistance from Queensland-based researchers.

Despite the COVID disruptions our Foundation is on track to fund close to $200K in ongoing fellowships and grants in the current financial year as well as a further $200K in operating and capital expenses.  This will include the necessary upgrade of outboard motors, the replacement of hot water systems and air conditioners, and other works to ensure the Station remains a world-class facility. 

The upgrade of the solar power generating system is also proceeding, enabling the Station to generate about 96% of its power from solar energy.  This exciting project has been substantially funded by the CH Warman Foundation and the Minderoo Foundation.

The deferral of a number of research projects, including the work of several new Doctoral and Postdoctoral Fellows as well as Grantees, has meant there is a backlog of projects.  For this reason we have decided not to offer new fellowships or grants for 2021.  We’re hoping many of the deferred projects can be accommodated next year.   The high schools study tour for a selected group of Year 11 NSW science students is also on hold.

Supporting research to better understand, preserve and protect our coral reef ecosystems has never been more critical.  The posts below highlight some recent projects supported by the Station, whose ongoing important role relies on the support of our donors.  Thank you all. 

We especially wish to acknowledge the support of Rohan Rivett and his Private Clients team at PricewaterhouseCoopers. They audit our annual financial report pro bono.  This helps keep our total fundraising expenses very low (less than 3% of gross income from fundraising).  This link will take you through to Rohan and his team if you would like to learn more about the broad range of services they offer or join us in thanking them for their support ( 

In closing we’re sorry to share news of the passing of LIRRF Trustee Chris Joscelyne.  Chris was a passionate and dedicated Trustee for over 22 years and he will be greatly missed.  Our thoughts are with his family.   

Best wishes,

Kate Hayward
Chair - LIRRF

Detecting CoTS at pre-outbreak levels using new dipstick tests
Mitigating the devastating effects of coral eating Crown of Thorns Starfish has been the focus of 21 LIRS based projects over the past 5 years. 


Welcome Kris Helgen
The Lizard Island Research Station is part of the Australian Museum Research Institute. Professor Kris Helgen has been appointed Chief Scientist and Director of AMRI. Prior to this appointment he was Curator in Charge of Mammals at the Smithsonian.  He has great knowledge of biodiversity and remains optimistic for the future of our natural world. This interview was conducted by journalist and LIRRF Trustee Helen Wellings

Watch now...

Nooks, Crannies and Critters
Drawing on field work conducted at the Lizard Island Research Station, a large team of ecologists and engineers has developed a relatively simple way to standardize how habitat complexity is measured.


Using larval barcoding to estimate stomatopod species richness for conservation monitoring 
Measuring the health of an ecosystem can be tricky. One of the best indicators of ecosystem resilience, however, is established by the diversity of species that live there.


Going to the LIMIT: The impact of ecological disturbance on coral reef metabolism
Lizard Island is one of the few sites in the world where a long-term historical study of coral reef metabolism can be conducted.


Recovery of coral growth rates after severe bleaching
Corals are the building blocks of remarkably diverse ecosystems, housing thousands of reef fish and associated organisms, but are extremely sensitive to anthropogenic stressors, such as ocean warming. 


Why Donate to support science at the Australian Museum’s Lizard Island Research Station?

  • Because the Great Barrier Reef is hugely important;
  • the science advances knowledge of life and informs reef conservation;
  • the Station is one of the world’s best reef research facilities and advances marine science careers;
  • the science depends on continuing donor support;
  • LIRRF provides a super-efficient funding channel where you will see your funds being put to good use;
  • and because we have a sense of wonder.
Donate Now
Our mailing address is:
Lizard Island Reef Research Foundation
Australian Museum
1 William Street
Sydney, Nsw 2010

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