The Lizard Island Research Station currently holds 2,062 scientific publications in its Shuetrim Library. Each year over 100 new publications are added to this collection. All are based on field research conducted at the Station.  See Publications & Projects for the complete catalogue. This remarkable concentration of local knowledge spans decades, and is reflected in the Lizard Island Field Guide.  It is one of the reasons scientists choose the Station as a base for their field research.

Dr Lyle Vail briefing LIRRF Trustees Kate Hayward & Helen Wellings in the Shuetrim Library


Visiting scientists come from highly-regarded research institutions in Australia and around the world. They obtain all or most of their project funding through government and private grant-making bodies, including LIRRF.  This involves rigorous vetting. Only the best scientists and the most worthwhile projects receive funding.

It usually takes a year or more for field research at the Station to published in scientific journals. Specimens and data typically require further analysis in the scientist’s home institutions. Then there are the time-consuming processes of writing, submission to publishers and peer review.

With another LIRRF Trustee (Heather Power) and 2,062 scientific publications.

The publications received into the library in 2016 are listed here [PDF, 506KB]. Numbers in square brackets below refer to publication numbers in that list, unscientifically grouped by me.  Click on the numbers to view the abstract or full text.

Bacteria & molecular ecology: revealing higher diversity [15]; parrotfish as microphages [22]; whole gut microbes of damselfish and cardinalfish before and after reef settlement [68]; a distinct microbiome in white-syndrome lesions [75]; bacteria in coral tissues [94]; Closely coupled evolutionary history of ectosymbionts and endosymbionts from two distantly related animal phyla [102].

Controlling outbreaks of the Crown of Thorns Starfish size and reproductive output [5]; efficacy of citric acid injections [14]; predation by damselfish [24]; influence of benthic predators [25]; COTS vision [71].

Corals: background mortality [73]; white-syndrome disease [74] [75]; genetic variability of Milleporidae (fire corals) [86]; sperm dispersal distances [96]; environmental factors limiting fertilisation and larval success [99]

Efects of predicted climate change and other reef disturbances: predator-prey interactions [3]; functional diversity is maintained in degraded habitats when functionally unique species enter the pool [12]; dissolved inorganic carbon use in macro algae [28]; gobies facilitate fine-scale monitoring of reef disturbances [39]; adapt, move or die [40]; elevated CO2 and fish behaviour [43][59][62]; change in habitat influences aggression in juvenile fish [49]; disturbance and recolonisation [52]; temperature, nutrition and the efficacy of chemical alarm cues [53]; habitat degradation impairs antipredator and neophobic responses [55] [56]; effect of elevated CO2 on shoal familiarity and metabolism [62]; southern range extension [63]; nitrates and seagrass [66]; effects on foraminifera [76] [77] [78] [79] [80] [85];

Genetics: the complete mitrocondrial genomes of Polycladida [1], Depth-dependent plasticity in opsin gene expression varies between damselfish (Pomacentridae) species [89]

Before you study the fish in the aquarium, first you have to catch them. This diver is using clove oil, a mild anaesthetic. Photo: Anne Hoggett & Lyle Vail

New species described: a fan worm [15]; marine parasites – transversotrematid trematodes [26]; an isopod family Lepidocharon lizardensis [34]; a gobie fish Fusigobius signipinnis [44]; two shrimps [45]; two new trematodes from the giant moray eel [65]; four annelid worms [83]; two blood flukes [100]; a new species of Marphysa (a common bait worm) and pseudo-cryptic species [101].

Ontogeny & physiology: embryonic development of a solar-powered nudibranch [2]; water flow and fin shape [7]; diterpene as defensive toxin [8]; compounds that provide rapid UV protection [13]; selective storage of nudibranch toxin [19]; flashing in the ‘disco’ clam [29] & video; metabolism and threat perception [42];  protogyny (sex change) in damselfish [54]; dopamine disruption increases cooperative interaction [57]; movement and growth of Bohadschia argus and Thelenota ananas (sea cucumbers) [81]

Scientists studying marine parasites in the Station’s saltwater aquarium.

Parasites: trematode range extensions [26]; a new family of isopods [34]; life cycle of Gorgocephalus yaaji  and intermediate hosts [46]; high intensity cardiac infections in cardinalfish [64]; trematodes in the giant moray eel [65]; short-term exposure to ectoparasites affects fish cortisol and hematocrit levels [91];  blood flukes infecting milkfish [100]

Roles and behaviour: fecundity and demographic strategies of coral [4]; site fidelity and homing in rabbitfish [6]; a fail for the trophic cascade theory [16]; conformity and conflict in fish schools [21]; reassessing the trophic role of reef sharks as apex predators [32]; camouflage and mimicry [23]; habitat specialisation, niche overlap and site fidelity in cardinalfish; influence of abundance and priority effects on colonisation success [36]; cleaner wrasse performance [38];  predators exacerbate competitive interactions [41]; wrasse foraging and microhabitat use [50]; social behaviour of pairing rabbitfish [58]; shoaling [60] [61]; top predators negate the effect of mesopredators on prey physiology [67]; coral colony size and structure as determinants of fish habitat [69]; goby competitive mechanisms change with ontogeny [70]; cleaner wrasse influence habitat selection of young damselfish [90]; mate choice plasticity [93]; the role of boldness and other personality traits in juvenile fish [97];  generalized rule application in bluestreak cleaner wrasse [98].

Scientific method: coarse taxonomic resolution masks change at finer scales [17]; the point count transect method for estimates of biodiversity [82]; methods matter when estimating metabolic rates of fish [84]; a simple method to predict body temperature of small reptiles from environmental temperature [92]; in situ visualisation of bacterial populations in coral tissues [94]; Analysis of HIV-1 and foraminiferal molecular evolution [95].

Sound: using passive acoustic telemetry to infer mortality events [48]; small boat noise impacts coral fish larvae [87]; anthropogenic noise increases fish mortality by predation [88]. See also Can we hear the reef dying? 

Vision: the radiola eyes of fan worms [9]; colour thresholds [18]; dynamic polarisation [27]; spectral absorption of visual pigments in larval photoreceptors [30]; circularly polarised light communication [33]; a shape-anisotropic reflective polariser [47]; ; Crown of Thorns Starfish have spatial, image-forming vision [71]; the role of colour in sexual selection [93].

Mantis Shrimp Gonodactylus platysoma from Lizard Island

Mantis Shrimp Gonodactylus platysoma © Mike Bok.  These and many other marine species have sensory abilities way beyond our human range.



See also Mantis shrimps inspire medical imaging sensors.