Thank you for supporting science at the Australian Museum’s Lizard Island Research Station (LIRS). We’re pleased to bring you our quarterly update.
In mid-February through mid-March, the Great Barrier Reef experienced its third major coral bleaching event in five years. Fortunately more normal summer rain, cloud and winds patterns resumed in the northern sector of the GBR in mid-March, limiting the coral loss around the Lizard Island Group. Many corals are now showing welcome recovery.
LIRS closed to visiting researchers in mid-March due to COVID-19 restrictions. Since then the 4 resident staff members have been busy working on a myriad of projects, including maintenance of infrastructure that is impossible to undertake when researchers are present. Researchers will return as travel restrictions are eased. This is likely to take longer for those based overseas.
At this time of year our Foundation usually holds informative events in Melbourne and Sydney, where LIRS scientists update LIRRF supporters on how their donations are being put to good use. This year we’re taking you to the Station via this 5-minute video.
LIRS Co-Directors Dr Anne Hoggett and Dr Lyle Vail provide an update on 2020 coral bleaching and recovery at Lizard Island.
The recently-published 2019 Report lists visiting researchers and their projects, along with publications based on field research supported by our Foundation. As always, the scope and importance of this science is impressive.
The 2019 Report also outlines the 6 new Fellowship and 4 grant recipients funded. Their research will focus on the profound impacts that climate change and other man-made stressors are having on the Reef; their interactions and effects on marine life; how coral reefs can rebuild themselves amidst such adversity; effects of microplastic pollution on reef habitats; and early detection of Crown of Thorns Starfish (CoTS).
Since the first Fellowship was awarded in 1984, LIRRF donors have provided $2.3 million for important Fellowship and Grant funding. This includes a $500,000 50th Anniversary Commemorative Grant from The Ian Potter Foundation, directed to CoTS research. The area north of Cairns to Lizard Island is considered “ground zero” for the initial outbreaks of this devastating coral-eating invertebrate.
If you have supported our Foundation this financial year, we thank you. If not, we hope you will consider doing so. Options are available at lirrf.org/donate.
There are many good reasons to support: The Great Barrier Reef is a critically important part of Australia’s marine ecosystem and our science informs its management and conservation; LIRS is one of the world’s most highly regarded facilities for field research on coral reefs, and it would not be economically viable without your ongoing donations; our Fellowships & Grants go mainly to young marine scientists at the early stage of their careers when financial support is most critical; and every research project we support helps inspire and engage a sense of the wonder of life that is important for the conservation of our planet.
Finally, we hope you find the below posts informative. They are mostly contributed by the scientists themselves, who are keen to share their work and express their appreciation for your support.
Chair - LIRRF
Finding baby CoTS
Newly settled crown-of-thorns starfish (Acanthaster cf. solaris, aka CoTS) have rarely been studied in the field.
Impact of ocean acidification on fishes
Ph.D. student Kelly Hannan is undertaking research into the impact of ocean acidification on fishes under the supervision of Associate Professor Jodie Rummer (James Cook University).
Baby brooding corals: diversity and thermal tolerance
Brooding corals fertilise internally, nurture their planulae inside their bodies and do not release them until they are capable of independent settlement; and their breeding season usually spans several months
3CR Radio Interview (855am)
A wonderfully informative interview by 3CRAM community radio host Megan Williams with Dr Anne Hoggett discussing what bleaching is and the impact it is having on our marine ecosystem.