LIRRF Spring 2019 Update
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Dear <<First Name>>
Mother Nature is at her busiest and most wondrous during Spring. It’s also the time when usage at the Australian Museum’s Lizard Island Research Station (LIRS) is close to full capacity with scientists undertaking research over the spring and summer months when corals are reproducing and marine life is most active. 

Last year, LIRS was home to scientists from 38 institutions visiting from 9 countries. Ninety-eight research projects were conducted, nearly all of which involved the study and monitoring of what is actually happening in coral reef environments. Providing location-specific comparative data has been the focus of research at the Station for over 45 years and such time-series data is especially valuable in the context of climate change.

None of this research could occur without our Foundation supporters. In the current financial year, our Foundation hopes to provide $400,000 in fellowships and grants and around $100,000 to support and enhance research facilities. Projects planned for the coming year include:   
  • Continued support for seven fellowship recipients who commenced work in 2019 (four PhD students and three early-career scientists), and ongoing funding for six fellows in their second or third award year.  Grants for the next round of doctoral and post-doctoral fellowships will be announced early in 2020.
  • New support for researchers using eDNA to produce barcodes and vital data sets on marine life around Lizard Island.  The eDNA methodology enables biodiversity to be recorded and monitored at unprecedented degrees of species detail and completeness.
  • Further funding for research into the effects of microplastic pollution on coral reefs
  • Continuation of a long-term project measuring changes in coral communities.  The team on this collaborative project has built a long, annual dataset recording minute changes in coral communities around Lizard Island.  It’s immeasurably valuable that this project has now been funded for a further 3 years. 
  • The replacement of the battery bank of the LIRS solar power system.
  •  An independent evaluation of benefits flowing from our Fellowship programs, including contribution to scientific knowledge, support for science careers and benefits for other research institutions.  This review will help us optimise these programs for future recipients. It is funded by a special grant from The Ian Potter Foundation.    
  • Support for an educational program to be run at LIRS in April 2020 aimed at Year 11 NSW Government School students who have demonstrated a strong interest in marine science.
We are hosting a panel evening on Wednesday, October 16 at the Australian Museum for an evening of conversation with Professor Tim Flannery and two marine scientists, Professor Maria Byrne and Martin Hing, both of whom have made frequent trips to Lizard Island.  For more details on the evening, see Invitation.

Our Foundation will also host a panel evening at the Queensland Museum on Tuesday, November 19 with Professor Justin Marshall and LIRS co-director Dr Anne Hoggett AM.  Further details will follow.    

Finally, we hope you enjoy reading the below glimpses of recent research at the Lizard Island Research Station. On behalf of all Trustees, thank you for your ongoing support. 

Best wishes,

Kate Hayward
Chair - LIRRF

Seaweeds are just as sensitive as corals to ocean warming
Ocean warming is one of the greatest threats to coral reefs. Increasing temperatures have already caused mass coral bleaching events which, if severe and frequent enough, lead to widespread coral mortality.


The urgency of biodiversity discovery
Although the likely effects of projected climate change are being widely studied, we are just scratching the surface with regard to its long-term consequences. 


Have cleaner fish become lazier, less capable, or both?
Life is complex for Common Cleanerfish. They have a specialised diet consisting of the crustacean parasites on the skins of other reef fishes and fish-skin mucus. They swim close to the surface of the host fish and pick the parasites off with their specially developed mouthparts.


Interview with Darko Cotoras: LIRRF fellowship recipient
Darko Cotoras is the recipient of a 2019 Lizard Island postdoctoral fellowship funded by the Lizard Island Reef Research Foundation (LIRRF). Here he answers some questions about his work at the Lizard Island Research station and how the fellowship has contributed to taxonomic research in Australia.


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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