After over two weeks in Brisbane and at home stays, we are getting ready to move to another new location!
We began with a four day stay on Stradbroke Island at the Moreton Bay Research Station. We had several different lectures on Sand Island Hydrology, Mangrove Forests and Marine Life in the Moreton Bay area, before conducting our own independent research projects. Within a two day period, we divided into six different groups, formed and created experiment topics, collected and analyzed data, and prepared powerpoint presentations! We had an interesting variety of topics- some examples include looking at the plankton abundance and diversity in two locations along the coast, analyzing water quality and its affect on plant diversity, exploring crab abundance in different mangrove environments, and looking at the effect of human-made disturbances on intertidal species.
We also visited Point Lookout and walked along the coast while on Stradey, even spotting some dolphins along the way! Our guide, Rob, also took us on an adventurous hike up the side of a young sand dune. It was quite steep and challenging to navigate, so a couple people chose to run and/or slide back down (they had bruises and scrapes to prove it!). The final stop on our island tour was Brown Lake, where the water was actually brown due to decaying matter, and had a quick swim.
On our last day we took the bus to Cylinder Beach and had a beautifully sunny day relaxing on the beach. In celebration of Easter (and Hilary’s birthday!), there was a also fair in town where we went to watch fireworks after dinner, before finishing off our stay with night games back at the station!
Easter Sunday we checked out of our accommodations and took the ferry back to the mainland, and met with our home stay families at Griffith University. We have spent two full weeks with our host-families and have had a variety of experiences! Throughout these two weeks, we have taken the Brisbane public transportation to Central Queensland University in the CBD of Brisbane, and have also had lectures at Queensland University. During our free days, we have had an elaborate photo scavenger hunt, some people have gone to the beaches on the Gold Coast, and we have all spent a significant amount of time in the city center, checking out the shops on Queenstreet and going to the human-made beach on South Bank.
After tomorrow, we are heading to the Binna Burra Lodge in Lamington National Park and the Takarakka Bush Resort in Carnarvon Gorge. At both locations we will be staying in “Safari Tents” and spending a lot of time doing field studies and research on nocturnal vertebrates, the Australian rainforests, avian and mammal social behavior, fire regimes in the eucalypt forests, aboriginal art and natural resources, and much, much more. We are also going to be staying at Kroombit Cattle Station for a couple of days! Unfortunately, it is highly unlikely that we will have internet access during the next several weeks. As usual, we will be sure to keep you updated as soon as we can! :)