Lizard Island2010 expedition
24 August to 14 September 2010


International and Australian marine scientists are visiting Lizard Island on the Great Barrier Reef for the final far north Queensland field expedition of the CReefs Australia program.
The island is located on the northern Great Barrier Reef, 270 km north of Cairns, Queensland.
This expedition, running from 24 August to 14 September, is the third and final trip to Lizard Island as part of the four-year CReefs Australia project. Previous expeditions took place in April 2008 and February 2009.
The project has recently been recognised for its contribution to marine science by several of the premier science prize programs in Australia.
CReefs Australia joined an impressive shortlist of finalists in the 2010 Australian Museum Eureka Prizes, which reward originality and excellence in scientific research and innovation. CReefs Australia was recognised in the environmental research category.
The project was also lauded by the United Nations Association of Australia's 2010 World Environment Day Awards, which acknowledge innovation and dedication in research to protect, manage or restore the environment. CReefs Australia was named as a finalist for the Department of Sustainability and Environment's Biodiversity Award.
CReefs Australia team leader and Principal Research Scientist with the Australian Institute of Marine Science Dr Julian Caley said that being selected as a finalist in the awards was national recognition of the work being carried out by the team, which contributes to the coral reef component of the Census of Marine Life, a 10-year program involving researchers in more than 80 countries.This trip's participants include more than 30 people on site at different times during the three weeks, including researchers from Australia, Japan, Russia and the United States, support staff, BHP Billiton employees, and a photographer.
The researchers are sampling animal and plant species associated with coral reefs that have not previously been studied in depth, including species of invertebrate marine animals, shrimps, worms, parasites, algae, soft corals and zoanthids.
The expedition is based at the Lizard Island Research Station.
The Research Station is owned and operated by the Australian Museum and is supported by the Lizard Island Reef Research Foundation and the Coral Reef and Marine Science Foundation.
CReefs is the coral reef component of the Census of Marine Life, a 10-year program involving researchers in more than 80 countries. The Census is the first comprehensive survey of the diversity, distribution and abundance of marine life in the oceans in the past, present and future.
The Australian node of the CReefs program is a partnership between BHP Billiton, the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, the Census of Marine Life, and the Australian Institute of Marine Science.
The Australian Institute of Marine Scienceis leading a consortium of scientists that will sample and analyse coral reef biodiversity over a series of nine expeditions: three trips each to Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia and Lizard and Heron Islands on the Great Barrier Reef.