The Lizard Island Research Station’s 2019 Report is available here.  It includes

  • 2019 in review by resident Directors Lyle Vail & Anne Hoggett;
  • Visitors in 2019: details of the 106 visiting researchers and their projects; 
  • Publications: Titles and citations for the 88 new scientific papers based on LI research that were added to the collection in the Station’s library in 2019;
  • Fellowships & Grants: details of the 6 Fellowships and 3 research grants funded by LIRRF donors; and
  • An update on LIRRF:  board changes, projects & facilities funded, new initiatives and events.

2019 Report cover page featuring a specular soft Lizard Island coral. Photo: Lyle Vail


Projects listed in the Visitors section include studies of Crown of Thorns Starfish (CoTS) population genetics; the song of the Dwarf Minke whale; polarisation vision in stomatopods and anemonefish; the metabolism of coral reefs; variation in cognitive performance between female and male cleaner-fish; and Lizard Island archaeology. 

The reef metabolism project extends a study of local reefs first conducted in 1975. We will elaborate on it in a future post. LIRS is unique in its section ability to facilitate such a 45-year longitudinal reef study.

The scientific papers in the Publications section cover a wide range of subjects, including CoTS; taxonomy; demographic dynamics; animal behaviour; vision in marine animals; the effects of coral degradation; acclimatization of reef-building corals to consecutive heatwaves; fish parasites; reef soundscapes; how ecological memory modifies the cumulative effect of recurrent climate extremes; long term memory retention in a wild fish species; and an archaeological study showing Indigenous Australians maintained sustainable fishing practices in the Lizard Island group for 2,000 years. 

As at 30 December 2019 the Lizard Island Field Guide included more than 2,800 species, along with with photographs and much other information; an increase of about 300 during the year.  It had 750 of the 1,500 known fish species in this area, 250 corals, 580 molluscs, 200 echinoderms, 100 birds and 240 land plants. (The soft coral featured on the Report cover can be found in the family Nephtheidae)

The 2019 Report provides further reinforcement to our Why Donate reasons. It shows why the Great Barrier Reef is hugely important; how science is advancing reef conservation; why LIRS is one of the world’s best facilities for field research on coral reefs; how it is nurturing marine science careers; and how every research project there inspires and engages a sense of the wonder of life.  

Extraordinary regrowth of coral at North Direction Island in December 2019. This area had been destroyed by cyclones and coral bleaching between 2014 and 2017. Photo: Lyle Vail