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Laura Jones | A Diary of a Changing Reef

Dumbo Feather 3 September 2017

Australians have a strong emotional connection with the reef—even those who have never seen it before. It is a defining feature of our landscape. To give my work immediacy, I needed to witness the reef first hand. I needed to learn more about the complex ecology of coral and how it was responding to the negative impacts of climate change. I set out on this journey because I felt a responsibility to use my voice as an artist, to work alongside science in order to interpret and publicise the problems that our planet is facing today.

Friday 19th August


I made the trip to the Lizard Island Research Station on a tiny six-seater plane. The journey included spectacular views of the reef and the bright blue sky looked like it was melting into the ocean. I was picked up at the airstrip in a troopie car, and we bounced along an undulating sand track through beautiful bushland for about 10 minutes until we reached the Research Station nestled in the landscape, close to the beach.

Here at the Station, the labs, accommodation and facility buildings are all open, breezy and in tune with the environment. Sandy tracks connect the labs and houses, guarded by the yellow-spotted lizards that give the island its name. There are buckets of water at the building entrances to dip your feet in and wash off the sand.

Dr. Lyle Vail and Dr. Anne Hoggett are the directors of the research station and have been here since 1990. They invited me to have dinner at their place with their son Alex, who is a marine biologist and filmmaker, along with Claudia, an American volunteer and a solar power expert named Robert. Anne told me that they love having people come from all over the world to visit the Lizard Island Research Station. It’s paradise here; I am full of anticipation about what I will see during my stay.


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