A slice of research paradise – One Tree Island, Great Barrier Reef

IMG_0307Last month I had the good fortune to head up north to conduct research at the One Tree Island Field Research station (University of Sydney) with my good friend and colleague, A/Prof. Ashley Ward and his doctoral students (Liss and Mia) This is my third visit to the station in almost as many years and I must admit, One Tree is one of my favourite places in the world.

To borrow some text from the OTI site listed above:

“One Tree Island is a coral cay of about 4 hectares, situated at the seaward (southeast) end of its reef which is 5.5 long and up to 3.5 km in size. The reef is an excellent example the rich development characteristic of the southern part of the Great Barrier Reef. It lies in the centre of the Capricorn Group of the Great Barrier Reef, about 20 km east of Heron Island and about 100 km off the Queensland coast (Gladstone).

The island remains near pristine with limited human influence. It is a rookery for six species of terns and home to northern hemisphere waders. The lagoon, easily accessible from the Research Station, is totally enclosed. It has a rich patch reef system with a wide range of geomorphological and ecological zones. The dominant SE wave and wind energy causes pronounced differentiation between the windward and leeward sides of the reef.”

What this description fails to highlight is just how beautiful and unique this location is. I regularly observed a diverse range of GBR fauna including various species of sea turtle, sharks, cephalopods and innumerable (almost) other fishes and invertebrates.

A few highlights of this trip are shown in video links below.

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