Island-hopping Molly at home on Lizard

Molly Timmers.
Image: Angus Livingston


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.
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.