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CReefs - The Australian Node

Scientists head home from Lizard
By Angus Livingston

Friday 27 February 2009:

IT'S TIME to say goodbye to beautiful Lizard Island for another year.

Time to pack up the instruments, secure all the samples, and re-learn how to cook for ourselves.

This trip was the second CReefs expedition to Lizard and it introduced us to new species, new scientists and new information.

For myself, this trip helped me better understand the incredible diversity of this amazing reef.

There were so many scientists looking at so many samples... and they all said they were barely scratching the surface.

Snorkeller at Lizard Island at sunset.
Image: Angus Livingston.
With these trips set to continue for the next couple of years, hopefully we can start to get a more complete picture of what is actually living on and in the reef.

Lizard Island meant a chance to meet new species: from an octopus, to shrimp, to Phil Bock's expanding collection of bryzoans.

It also meant we added new scientists to the CReefs family.

Molluscs, sea spiders, octopuses, shrimp, crabs and sea cucumbers all had people here to study, collect and sample them for the first time under the CReefs banner.

Hopefully that trend can continue as the project adds to the base of knowledge about Australia's reefs.

It was a large CReefs group this time – about 25 at its largest point – and the camaraderie was excellent.

Phil Bock kept the group entertained and highly caffeinated, Molly Timmers handed out nicknames like candy, and the excitable Russian Art Anker was notable for his constant chatter*. (*This may not be entirely true.)

Now that the trip is over, everyone can get back to their jobs and leave the sun-kissed beaches of Lizard Island behind... until Ningaloo.


Team America trio find harmony – and lots of critters – on Lizard

Thursday 26 February 2009:

THEY come from three different countries but they share much more than just a lab here on Lizard Island.

The three men from the University of Florida also share a collective nickname – Team America.

Arthur Anker, originally from Russia, Francois Michonneau, from France, and Robert Lasley, from the United States, form one of the more eccentric trios on the CReefs expedition.

Apart from bringing their unique tastes in world music to the island, they also each specialise in different areas useful to the CReefs project.

Art studies shrimp and has "barely scratched the surface" of what is available in these waters.

One of the more important aspects of his studies includes the chance to take colour photographs of specimens which had either only been seen in black and white or had not been photographed at all.

For the latter, Art also faces the difficult task of matching live specimens to their written description.

Team America specimen Actinopyga miliaris. 
Image: Francois Michonneau.

Team America specimen Fromia.

Image: Francois Michonneau.

Team America specimen Phyllacanthus imperialis.
Image: Francois Michonneau.

Art and the others have been receiving a lot of specimens from the ARMS recovered recently.

Francois has been examining sea cucumbers and has found a number of undescribed species.

He said a lot of sea cucumbers looked relatively similar in their morphology and therefore hadn't been looked at carefully enough.

Francois is hoping to be part of a large taxonomical review of the organisms, and the trip to Australia meant he was able to broaden his knowledge of species around the world.

Lastly, Rob. As the resident crab expert, Rob receives all the crustaceans found in the ARMS and coral heads. However he has a specific target – he is working on a revision of chlorodiella, a group with about 12 species described.

Rob said he has already found some specimens and has noticed interesting colour differences.

"Colour is really important and it hasn't been used a lot," he said.

The team will continue to share a lab – and a nickname – until it is time to take their travelling show back on the road to Florida.


Science author has book in the pipeline on the Great Barrier Reef and its researchers

Wednesday 25 February 2009:

JAMES Woodford first began to understand the passion people have for the Great Barrier Reef on a trip in 2004.

On the AIMS research vessel the Cape Ferguson, James witnessed a scientist distraught over the damage done to his favourite reef.

"There'd been a massive coral bleaching event and he was devastated," he said.

It was then that he became interested in writing a book about the Great Barrier Reef, focusing on the people and researchers who spend their lives trying to understand it.

James Woodford exploring the GBR.
Image: Gary Cranitch.
Researching that book has taken him to research stations on Heron Island and One Tree Island, and has brought him here, to Lizard Island, to take part in the CReefs expedition.

James said that incident in 2004 prompted him to look at "the real story of the health of the Great Barrier Reef".

He said the wider public perception of the reef was that it was in imminent danger of being wiped out, and he was determined to find out if that was the case.

While still in the research phase of the project, James said he's come to understand the problem is a lot more complicated than it appeared on the surface.

The book is due out in the middle of 2010, but before that James has lined up half a dozen more trips to locations around the Reef.

He admitted taking on a project that sent him to tropical locations for a good part of the year could incite a bit of jealousy among those chained to their office desks.

"It's pretty hard to convince people it's work," he said.

James has worked for the Sydney Morning Herald for 16 years, mostly in the science and environment sections. He has written five books and runs an environmental news website.


Scientists delve into algae's role in reef health
Tuesday 24 February 2009:

IT MIGHT not be obvious, but algae plays a very important role in keeping the Great Barrier Reef together.

As Fred Gurgel explains it, algae's role in making our beautiful reefs possible is crucial.

"If coral is the bricks, then algae is the mortar," he said.

Fred, from Adelaide University, and Murdoch University's Rainbo Dixon have been searching the reefs near Lizard Island for all sorts of algae, with the calcium-depositing red algae known as rhodoliths taking up much of their attention.

Fred Gurgel and Rainbo Dixon.
Image: Gary Cranitch.
This organism grows over coral and binds it together, helping keep it strong and alive.

However any increase in the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere can have negative effects on the algae, and therefore the coral.

Fred explains that the rhodoliths are susceptible to ocean acidification (a consequence of rising levels of atmospheric CO2), weakening the coral's binding and making the coral more likely to dissolve.

Unfortunately not a lot is known about this type of algae and its strengths and weaknesses.

"We know so little about the diversity of rhodoliths," Fred said.

Fred and Rainbo have been collecting samples of rhodoliths, as well as other types of algae, for study.

Rainbo's PhD project is a taxonomical review of the gene Sargassum, focusing on the North-West of Western Australia.

She is on Lizard to help Fred and to collect information for her PhD, as well as gain some knowledge about reefs outside her chosen area of study.

"It's amazing to have experiences like this where I can go out and see the diversity and learn how to identify things," she said.

Unfortunately for Rainbo it isn't sargassum season here on Lizard. However, she has managed to find enough samples to take back.

"That's why it's good to go on these trips at different times of the year," she said.


Molluscs galore around Lizard
Tuesday 24 February 2009:

ANDERS Hallan has more molluscs than he knows what to do with.

As the designated mollusc man on this CReefs trip, Anders is the go-to guy whenever someone finds one of these organisms.

And they're finding a lot of them.

"Everyone just brings me stuff," he said.

"I've got more material than I've got time to process.

"Lizard Island is so blessed with gastropods, nudibranchs and the like that Anders believes another couple of trips will be needed to really deal with all the species in the area.

Anders Hallan snorkelling for molluscs.
Image: Gary Cranitch.
"The mollusc fauna is really rich around here," he said.

"What I'm doing is barely scratching the surface."

Late last week, Anders identified a shell that hadn't been recorded on the Great Barrier Reef before.

His work on Lizard Island might be interesting, but Anders is actually focusing his PhD on an area a long way west of the island – the Gulf of Carpentaria.

The title of his PhD project is "The use of molluscs from the Gulf of Carpentaria as palaeo-environmental proxies and indicators".

Anders takes core samples, searches them for molluscs and then identifies them. In this way he can determine the ecology of the area at the time the mollusc lived.

But before he gets back to the University of Wollongong to continue his PhD, Anders has plenty of work to do on Lizard Island.

"I'll make the information available for anyone who needs it," he said.


Tiny sea spiders inspire research student
Tuesday 24 February 2009:

CLAUDIA Arango is on Lizard Island for two reasons.

One is to study sea spiders. The other is possibly to change our view of a seemingly common organism.

Claudia, from the Queensland Museum, said sea spiders (pycnogonidea) were a relatively unknown group due to their size.

The tiny organisms are found all over Australia's coastline and Claudia said she was finding some already on Lizard Island, despite only being here for a few days.

"There seems to be a good diversity when you sample different micro habitats," she said.


Claudia Arango collecting specimens.
Image: Gary Cranitch.
The one type of sea spider she is determined to find here is Achelia assimilis, which is found all along the Eastern seaboard of Australia.

She said researchers often saw the sea spiders, identified them as A. assimilis, and then didn't look too closely at them.

However sea spiders are not known for their ability to disperse over large areas, making it unusual for this particular organism to be so widespread.

Claudia hopes to find samples of A. assimilis so she can do genetic analyses to determine whether it is in fact one widespread species, or if there are differences between those found on the Great Barrier Reef and those found elsewhere.

"I want to know how this species is colonising so many habitats," she said.

Claudia hails from Colombia, where she was working on marine biology in the Caribbean.

She said she was looking for a project for her PhD and discovered that sea spiders were relatively understudied.

Once she started looking at them they became more and more interesting.

"They are so special. They are just great animals," she said.


Polychaetes come to the surface
Friday 20 February 2009:

LAST time on Lizard Island Charlotte Watson's research was hampered by some rough weather.

This time around she's taken advantage of the beautiful conditions to get out on the boat and collect polychaetes.

One of the more memorable finds was a toxic fireworm, which one of the boat crews caught and brought in for Charlotte to examine.

It was just one of the many specimens Charlotte, from the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, has examined on Lizard, and she is confident she has identified a number of new species.

Charlotte's speciality is chrysopetalidids, which she believes are abundantly available around the island.

"They're very small and I have to double check under the compound microscope, but I know there are way more species on Lizard Island than have been described previously," she said.

This time on Lizard Island she's been able to access new habitats and new reefs to find new specimens, and she's also had a bit of help.

Arthur Anker, from the University of Florida, is studying shrimp and his collecting efforts also mean he brings in a number of polychates, which he passes on to Charlotte.

"That's been really nice this trip," she said.

Charlotte said she was also collecting for her colleague Chris Glasby, who was on the first Lizard Island trip.


 Polychaete Hesionidae.
Image: Gary Cranitch.

Angus and the Plastic Spoon of Fury
Friday 20 February 2009:

OBVIOUSLY a degree in Marine Biology will give you some skills an Arts degree won't.

Apparently, one of those skills is the ability to catch a speedy crab with a plastic spoon.

Who knew they'd be so hard to catch? Not me.

When I wandered into one of the labs here on Lizard Island, I found myself corralled into helping sift through the detritus collected by one of the Automated Reef Monitoring Structures (ARMS).

 Angus's spoon.
Image: Angus Livingston.
The other researchers made it look easy, so I figured it wouldn't be too much of a stretch.

Happy to help, I sat down at my tub with a collection of plastic cups and my trusty spoon.

First of all I had to catch the big crabs, as they were the most likely to bite me (I have a keen sense of self-preservation when it comes to encounters with wildlife. Just ask anyone here about my relationship with the mud wasps).

I needed a bit of help, but so far so good.

Then it was time for the speedy little crabs with one big claw. They proved more difficult.

Backwards, forwards, spinning in reverse... those crabs were making it tough for me.

After fruitlessly chasing one or two around for a while, my white plastic spoon whipping up a storm in the sea tub, I changed tack.

Let them wait, I thought.

I'll get onto the starfishy* looking things (*not an actual scientific term), and then sneak up on the crabs when they least expect it.

I managed to separate the starfish legs and get them out (again, with some help), and then it was payback.

Goodbye, my crabby friends.

By this stage I was more proficient with my plastic utensil, and I was able catch a couple of the skittish creatures and plop them into a little plastic cup.

I cleaned out the rest of the tub, eventually getting all the crabs out from under shells and debris.

But as I was slowly moving through picking up the tiny worms and slow-moving slugs, a scuttling movement caught my eye.

Yes – one last crab had avoided my Plastic Spoon of Fury.

I chased it around the tub, swirling up the water and completely failing to catch it.

Finally, after a splishy-splashy battle, I scooped the crab up and my work was complete.

Plastic-spoon-training impaired as I was, I felt a sense of accomplishment.

I may not get the degree in Marine Biology necessary to properly operate a spoon, but I may become a slightly less-than-hopeless lab worker.


Double the sea urchins
Friday 20 February 2009:

WHEN Ashley Miskelly arrived on Lizard Island, the station had a list of 21 known species of sea urchin from the area.

That list now stands at about 40 species –with more likely to follow.

 Among those species was one, Echinoneus abnormalis, which Ashley has only found close to Australia before.

That find was in 1999, halfway to New Caledonia. This time around it's right on the Great Barrier Reef.

"It's the first time it's been found in Australian waters," he said.

As for increasing the species list, Ashley has a simple explanation – he just knows where to look.

"This area's really high in echinoderm biodiversity," he said.

However the types of sea urchins he is adding to the list – mostly "infaunal detritovores" – are very small and burrow into the sand.

Infaunal detritovores are bilaterally symmetrical, same on both sides of a central axis, and include heart urchins and sand dollars.

"They tend to be overlooked. To find them you've really got to dig," Ashley said.


 Sea urchin Parasalenia gratiosa.
Image: Gary Cranitch.

Building up a better picture of jellyfish parasites
Thursday 19 February 2009:

A TRIP to Lizard Island one year ago helped Jo Browne narrow the focus of her PhD studies.

This time around she's hoping to expand her knowledge in her chosen field.

Jo is doing her PhD on the parasites of gelatinous zooplankton in Eastern Australia, through Griffith University, Australian Rivers Institute (Coast and Estuaries) and Museum Victoria.

Last year she decided to focus on the parasites, which have not been studied in any detail on jellyfish.

Jo said she hoped her work might fit into the larger base of knowledge about parasites, known as digeneans, in fish.

"Jellyfish are just one part of the life cycle of the digeneans," she said.

They start on a mollusc, can move to a jellyfish as they grow, and then mature in fish.

A number of studies on fish parasites have been completed, but the role that jellyfish play in their development is still relatively untested.

With jellyfish numbers dramatically increasing worldwide, Jo's work could soon become very important.



Hydromedusa. Image: Gary Cranitch.


With that in mind, she is working on establishing two specific things:
  • A basic idea of how many species of parasites there are; and
  • Getting enough genetic material to match parasites in jellyfish to their adult forms in fish.

Last year Jo found the digeneans on cassiopea, the upside down jellyfish, while this year she has seen them on comb jellies (ctenophores) and jellyfish known as hydromedusas.

Given that a recent study estimated there were about 20,000 parasite species on the Southern Great Barrier Reef (in just 1,000 fish species), Jo has a lot of work ahead of her.

"Where fish are being removed, jellyfish are taking over their place," she said.

"My work could be an important factor in understanding what's happening."


Digenean under a microscope.
Image: Jo Browne.

New octopus species brings wave of excitement to Lizard Island
Tuesday 17 February 2009:

A LITTLE visitor has caused a lot of excitement on Lizard Island this week.

A pygmy octopus was recovered from one of the ARMS and cephalopod experts Julian Finn and John Ahern have confirmed it as a new species.

Julian said the octopus had a number of clearly visible features that defined it as a previously undescribed species.

"It has a larger number of enlarged suckers on its arms, than other species" he said.

 New octopus species.
Image: Julian Finn.
"And the chromataphore pattern on the base of the body is distinctly different."

Julian estimated there were about 14 species of octopus around Lizard Island, with a number of them undescribed.

He said there were a couple of reasons why a high level predator like an octopus could remain undetected in a research zone for so long.

Number one was that these types of octopuses tended to stay hidden deep in the coral and would normally only be detected if a coral head was brought to the surface and broken up.

"It's because of the sort of sampling we can do with the ARMS that this find has been made possible," Julian said.

The other reason is that in the past, pygmy octopuses have been misidentified as younger versions of other octopuses rather than as their own species.

The new specimen has been photographed, sampled and preserved.

Now Julian and John have turned their attention to examining the rest of the reefs around Lizard Island to see what else they can discover.

"There are so many different habitats that haven't been surveyed before," Julian said.

"Without a doubt there are more undescribed species in this reef."


Chasing elusive octopuses in the dead of night
Tuesday 17 February 2009:

WHILE the rest of the CReefs team on Lizard Island sleeps, Julian Finn is hard at work.

To catch his prey, Julian needs to be out on the reef in the cover of darkness, specimen bag in hand.

It's hard work, but it's what needs to be done in order to catch an octopus.

Julian works at Museum Victoria and has just finished his PhD on ocean octopuses He is being assisted by John Ahern, from Melbourne University's Zoology Department.

Julian Finn and John Ahern remove a light
trap from the waters near Lizard Island.
Image: Gary Cranitch.

As well as chasing octopus, the pair is after other cephalopods such as cuttlefish and squid; however the main focus is finding the 14 types of octopus recorded around Lizard Island.

Included in that 14 are species that have only been examined several times, and one that has only been identified from a single photograph.

Julian said his aim for this trip was to expand the knowledge base about the Lizard Island species.

"We want to collect enough specimens to really understand the species, but also for other things like genetic analysis," he said.

Unfortunately for Julian and John, octopuses like dark crevices and safe hiding spots – which coral reefs offer in abundance.

Thus the night reef walks.

Hoping to catch an octopus strolling across a reef at night isn't the only weapon at Julian's disposal, however.

He and John have also laid light traps, which attract octopus larvae, and octopus pots, which offer the creatures a place to hide.

But what works in temperate waters doesn't always work in the tropics, as the cephalopods have less reason to wander into a trap.

"In a coral reef system they're generally hard to find because of the amount of cover [available]," Julian said.

Still, Julian and John have found some of what they've been looking for and have set up some tanks with their finds.

They've so far targeted the inter-tidal octopuses, which come out at night during a low tide, but will continue to look for all 14 types.

Julian said he hoped to be able to continue the research into the cephalopods across the rest of the CReefs sites.

He said the three sites – Lizard, Ningaloo and Heron Island – had 39 recorded species of octopus, with 19 of them undescribed.


Island-hopping Molly at home on Lizard
Monday 16 February 2009:

MOLLY Timmers knows islands. It's her job.

She's on Lizard Island to collect and sort through the organisms brought to the surface by recovering the Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structures (ARMS).

Molly's usual day job involves doing the same thing – and a lot more – on 55 islands spread around the Pacific Ocean.

She works for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Hawaii and divides her time between the islands.

On Lizard, Molly is spearheading the collection of the ARMS, which she has been deploying throughout the Pacific for the past year or so.

Molly Timmers.
Image: Angus Livingston.

This is her first trip to Australia. She said the diversity on the coral reefs here was higher than anything around Hawaii, as the Hawaiian Islands were some of the most isolated in the world and sit toward the current northern limit of coral reef development.

So far Molly has seen a large number of galatheids (aka squat lobsters) collected from the ARMS, but more would be known about what was living on these structures once the mass genetic sequencing of this material was completed.

"I've never dived in Australia, so I am unfamiliar with the biodiversity in this area," she said.

"I'd be stoked to come back."

The experience Molly gains on the island in examining the ARMS will no doubt come in handy as she spends the next two years travelling the Pacific and recovering the ARMS from across the ocean floor.

Molly said she had been involved in the developing the standardised ARMS that was being deployed on reefs around the world and that she would be dealing with over the next few years.


Mark makes it to Lizard after detouring to China
Monday 16 February 2009:

ALTHOUGH Mark Daniell was forced to miss last year's CReefs trip to Heron Island, he wasn't as devastated as you might think.

The health, safety, environment and community (HSEC) superintendent at the Cannington Life Extension project made it to Lizard Island as part of BHP Billiton's employee engagement program with the CReefs project.

Mark Daniell BHP Billiton.
Image: Angus Livingston.

He missed the last trip – because he got to go to China to run in the Paralympic torch relay.

Mark admitted it was a tough choice.

"It was an opportunity I couldn't knock back, even though I was very keen to go on the CReefs expedition," he said.

He went to the Chinese city of Quingdao, and ran the torch "about 40 or 50m" before handing it on.

Mark eventually made it to Lizard Island and has spent the past week getting involved in a variety of projects.

He said he enjoyed having a chance to interact with the researchers and see how passionate they were about their individual fields.

At first, Mark said he wasn't sure what he could do to help, but once he realised that everyone was happy to have an extra pair of hands he dived right in.

From helping bring in the Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structures (ARMS) and sorting through their contents, to going out snorkelling on the reef and looking through specimens, Mark has thrown himself into the program.

As part of his work at Cannington, 700km west of Townsville, Mark has become involved with several marine-based environmental groups and stewardship programs.

Since coming to Lizard Island, Mark said he had developed an appreciation for why BHP Billiton chose to sponsor the program.

"I think it lines up with our global charter on the environment and sustainability," he said.

Mark thanked project leader Julian Caley and project manager Shawn Smith for making it easy for him to get involved in the program.


Taking apart ARMS step-by-step
Monday 16 February 2009:

ONE of the important tasks for the CReefs team on Lizard Island is the recovery of the Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structures (ARMS).

These reef-like structures were pinned to the ocean floor on the team's first visit in April 2008 and were designed to provide an environment for organisms to colonise.

The team responsible for examining the ARMS took one apart late last week and demonstrated the process they use to sample the biodiversity these structures collect.

Step one
The ARMS, which has been sitting in seawater with air bubbling through it to keep the animals living in it alive, is unbolted from the top. The pieces are removed and rinsed in a bucket to remove the mobile organisms, such as crabs or starfish.

Step two
The plates are then photographed, top and bottom, with labels identifying them in the photographs. After that they are brushed over with a paintbrush into a bucket to make sure all the mobile organisms are collected.

Step three
The plates, now only covered in sessile organisms like corals and bryzoans, are placed in ethanol to be preserved and examined later.

Step four
The water collected in the buckets is poured through various size filters to separate the larger and smaller organisms. The filters are then emptied into trays.

Step five
The trays are sorted through, with each organism collected and placed in separate cups.

Step six
The organisms are placed in a tray for photographing, and then a small sample of their tissue is taken and preserved for DNA analysis.

Step seven
Finally, the organisms are preserved in ethanol so they can later be identified or re-sampled if necessary.


1. Removing the ARMS structure from the water.
Image: Angus Livingston.

2. Photographing the tray.
Image: Angus Livingston.


3. The underside of the trays.
Image: Angus Livingston.


4. The various trays removed from the ARMS.
Image: Angus Livingston.


5. Filtering the organisms.
Image: Angus Livingston.


6. Two trays of different sized organisms.
Image: Angus Livingston.

7. Organisms sorted into cups.
Image: Angus Livingston.


Researchers' return brings chance
to evaluate

Thursday 12 February 2009:

FOLLOWING the successful start to the Australian CReefs project last year, 2009 is about consolidation and expansion.

Dr Julian Caley, AIMS Principal Research Scientist and Principal Investigator of the CReefs team, said the current expedition to Lizard Island was interesting for a number of reasons.

"It's the first chance we'll get to properly evaluate the use of the ARMS [Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structures] for monitoring coral reef biodiversity," he said.

The ARMS, tiered boxes designed to simulate a reef environment, were deployed on the Lizard Island reefs during the trip in April last year.

So far the team has collected several ARMS from the ocean and begun to sort through their contents.

Dr Caley said that the intention of the ARMS was to develop a standardised way of collecting information on how organisms colonise reefs. However he said there were still details to be sorted out about how they can use mass genetic sequencing techniques to get a good estimate of what is living on these structures.

Dr Caley also said the project team had expanded to include new scientists looking at different species groups.

Dr. Julian Caley on Lizard Island. Image: Angus Livingston.

Cephalopods (for example, octopuses), echinoderms (including sea stars) and gastropods (including sea slugs) will all be studied and collected on this trip.

Other scientists who made the trip to Lizard last time have returned to examine new areas and new habitats to expand their knowledge of life in the area.

The project is part of the international Census of Marine Life (, and is being used to establish a baseline about what lives on coral reefs – information that will prove invaluable to future study.

The three locations for the CReefs Australia trips were chosen because of their diverse locations and impressive marine life.

Lizard Island is on the northern edge of the Great Barrier Reef, while Heron is near the southern end. Ningaloo is off the coast of Western Australia.

The current expedition will be on the island for three weeks.


Return to Lizard
By Angus Livingston

Wednesday 11 February 2009:

DOES a lot change in a year? The CReefs team on Lizard Island is about to find out.

In April 2008 the team went to the island for the first of several trips to examine life on coral reefs.

The scientists took samples, examined specimens and left behind monitoring devices to help them better understand how organisms colonise reefs.

Those devices, Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structures (ARMS), are being collected and will be analysed once the expedition leaves the island.

The team is back to re-examine the reefs and see what they missed, as well as form a better understanding of how much underwater life is still to be discovered.

Also joining the CReefs group this time around include several scientists who are collecting specimens not collected on previous trips, including crabs and octopuses.

On this blog you will find information about the expedition, the scientists and the work being done on the island.

You will also find out a bit about the island and the people and creatures that inhabit it.

Check back every day for updates and images of the team's progress.


Lizard Island from the air. Image: Gary Cranitch.

A reef off Lizard. Image: Gary Cranitch.

* Angus Livingston, CReefs journalist on Lizard Island


Angus Livingston, CReefs journalist on Heron Island

Hobart-based Angus Livingston has BA from the University of Tasmania with majors in Journalism and History.

He has worked as a reporter for the Advocate for three and a half years, covering primarily sport and politics.


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CReefs Australia: A partnership between BHP Billiton, the Great Barrier Reef Foundation,
the Census of Marine Life and the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS).
CReefs Australia is a node of the Census of Coral Reef Ecosystems (CReefs),
a project of the Census of Marine Life.

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