Matthew Kosnick, a colleague of Darrell's, studies the marine ecosystem of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). He does both paleoecology (Darrell has analyzed some of Matthew's past shell collections at his laboratory at NAU) and modern ecology and can then make some comparisons between the past and present. Matthew made arrangements for Darrell and I to join his research team at One Tree Island (OTI) in the southern part of the GBR in early May. Yahoo!
We met Matthew, his friend and fellow scientist Erin, his graduate student Julietta, and her roommate and fellow marine graduate student Marcela, at the Heron Island ferry terminal on May 7th. All the people and materials for OTI go to the larger and more accessible Heron Island first. The reef system around OTI makes it impassable for boats except during the highest tides, so shucks, you could easily get stranded on the island for ten days or so...
|Julietta and Marcela on the ferry to Heron Island|
|Aussie coal to be burned in China|
|The HMS Protector - still reporting for duty|
This satellite image below is of Heron Island and I will use it to explain the body parts of a Paramecium, I mean - the working structure of a barrier reef!
|Satellite image of Heron Island and its reef system|
The Heron Island Research Station has both an educational and a research function. They have classrooms, dormitories, and a cafeteria for large school groups that come through. They also have active research programs, including a large CO2 monitoring program to determine how coral reefs may respond to different levels of atmospheric CO2. The ocean presently absorbs a lot of the additional CO2
|Carbon dioxide experiment at Heron Island Research Station|
|Sunset reflected behind Matthew, Erin, and Peter at Heron Island Resort|
|Sunset on Heron Island|
|Crossing the outer reef can only be done on the highest tides...|
|First view of One Tree Island station|
|Pete anchoring the boat so we can unload|
|One Tree Island, 10 acres of paradise|