Research grants

Program 2

Our research grants support important and often time-sensitive coral reef research projects. They may range from a single grant for a particular purpose to a series of grants offered over multiple years that are united by a research theme.

Unlike the fellowships programs, grants are not limited to a particular research demographic and applicants may be from any level within the research community.

Current topics supported by our research grants are: mitigation of the impacts of Crown-of-Thorns Starfish outbreaks, plastics pollution, long-term change on reefs, and using eDNA to determine biodiversity on reefs.

Our current research grants are supported by the following generous donors.  

The Ian Potter Foundation
Charles Warman Foundation
Banyer family
Rossi Foundation
Sally White OAM and Geoffrey White OAM
Ian Darling AO and Min Darling

Crown-of-Thorns Starfish research grants

Crown-of-Thorns Starfish (COTS) research grants are aimed at finding practical methods to reduce the impact of COTS on their coral prey.

They are supported by an Ian Potter Foundation 50th Anniversary Commemorative Grant. This program has operated since 2015 and 20 grants were awarded up to the final one in 2020. Research funded under this program continues in 2021.

Plastic pollution research grants

Pollution of the oceans by plastic waste is a relatively recent impact on marine environments. Very little is known about its prevalence in coral reef areas and its effect on marine life in that environment. Our grants are taking groundbreaking steps into this field of research thanks to donations from the Banyer family and the Rossi Family Foundation.

Long-term change research grants

Increasingly, coral reefs are affected by cyclones, bleaching and many other impacts. It is only with accurate baseline data and careful monitoring that we can understand these changes – including recovery – and such data and studies are rare.

Our Foundation is supporting a 3-year grant to  Dr Maria Dornelas (University of St Andrews, UK) and Dr Joshua Madin (University of Hawaii, USA) to build on their existing long-term data set of coral communities at Lizard Island: Understanding coral reef recovery from extreme disturbances using 3D maps. This is critical research at a time when these reefs are recovering from devastating damage that occurred between 2014 and 2017.

This work is funded with a generous donation from the Charles Warman Foundation.

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eDNA research grant

DNA that is shed into the environment (eDNA) is an exciting new tool that has great potential for discovering biodiversity in an area. In the marine environment, a seawater sample contains traces of the many thousands of species that live nearby. The trick is knowing which DNA signal belongs to which species.

Our grant to Dr Joseph DiBattista (Australian Museum) is helping to develop the emerging field of eDNA and provides an opportunity to make Lizard Island a major reference point for fish diversity on the east coast of Australia.

This work is funded with a generous donation from the Charles Warman Foundation.

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Our Other Programs

Researchers in aquarium

Program 1 - Fellowships

We provide fellowships that support field-intensive coral reef research by PhD students and early-career researchers.
Learn more >

Some of the new solar panels on the roof of the Kalkhoven Wing and the aquarium

Program 3 - Research facilities

We provide the facilities and equipment that underpin coral reef research and education at Lizard Island Research Station.
Learn more >

Program 4 - Education

We provide educational opportunities for future researchers and their mentors at Lizard Island Research Station.   
Learn more >


Lizard Island Reef Research Foundation
c/- Australian Museum
1 William Street, Sydney NSW 2010

Lizard Island Research Station
+61 (0)7 4060 3977

Weather & Ocean Observations

Latest Lizard Island Weather & Oceanic Observations from the AIMS Data Centre

We acknowledge Dingaal and Ngurrumungu Traditional Owners of the lands, seas and skies of the Lizard Island region.