The Lizard Island Research Station is widely regarded as the premier location for field research on the Great Barrier Reef. It’s ‘alumni’ list is superb. It continues to attract many of the best and brightest marine scientists from all over the world – because
- It is well equipped with boats, diving gear, lab facilities, salt-water aquariums and accommodation;
- It has an extensive library of prior local studies and a very useful field guide;
- Its only focus is research. The Lizard Island Research Station is operated by the Australian Museum. It one of four excellent research stations on the Great Barrier Reef. The other three are at Heron Island (University of Queensland, Orpheus Island (James Cook University) and One Tree Island, (University of Sydney). Unlike the others, the Lizard Island station is not required to devote resources to teaching and course work – although it does facilitate field work for many undergraduate and post-graduate research projects
- It is well managed by two highly respected and hospitable marine scientists – Dr. Anne Hoggett AM & Dr Lyle Vail AM. Their background and expertise informs the daily operation of Station facilities. They provide a highly supportive environment for visiting scientists, with meticulous standards of safety and equipment maintenance.
- It is on an island. Ship-based reef research has the advantage of not being limited by location, but is very expensive. Island-based research is more suitable to longer-term studies. It is generally less expensive than ship-based research (but still quite quite costly to provide and maintain first rate facilities in such a remote tropical island location).
- It has good transport and infrastructure support. There are other possible island locations in the northern sector of the Great Barrier Reef, but most are completely uninhabited. None of the other islands have transport or infrastructure support like that provided by the Lizard Island Resort. Thanks to this eco-friendly establishment, Research Station staff and visiting scientists have the benefits of a daily air service and a regular barge service to bring supplies (a 500km round trip from Cairns). Lizard Island also has good telephone and internet connections.
- It is well located for field work, offering a broad spectrum of Barrier Reef habitats including the outer reef, in-shore reefs, shallow and deep-water seagrass meadows, inter-reefal areas, sandy lagoon areas and mangroves. At Lizard Island the coral reefs begin just a few meters from the shore.
- It is relatively remote and pristine. Unfortunately, except for a few extremely remote (mainly mid-ocean) locations, it is no longer possible to find coral reefs so remote that they are completely unaffected by fishing, agricultural chemicals, port developments, boat movements and other human influences. However, the Lizard Island area of the Great Barrier Reef is still relatively unspoiled by the presence of humans. It is still as close to pristine natural perfection as is possible to reach with a regular air service!