Heron Island Research Station (HIRS)

The University of Queensland

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Rose Petal Sea Snail by Moreton Bay Research Station

Heron Island Research Station is internationally renowned for coral reef research and student training in marine sciences. Facilities and equipment rarely found in an offshore facility combined with its enviable position on the world's largest reef make HIRS the ideal location for marine and climate change research. Situated on the southern Great Barrier Reef, HIRS is the oldest and largest marine research station on the Reef. With crystal clear water and near pristine conditions, the Station provides easy and direct access to the marine environment.

Website http://www.uq.edu.au/heron-island-research-station/content/front-page

Key science sectors

Strengths and capabilities

  • Assessing and mapping biodiversity
  • Conservation and human impacts
  • Advance neurobiology techniques
  • Endocrine analysis
  • Environmental toxicology
  • Aboriginal and cultural studies
  • Biogeochemical cycling
  • Effectiveness of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs)
  • Mine rehabilitation
  • Climate change impacts

Facilities and major equipment

  • Physical Containment Class 2 (PC2) laboratory and Class 1 (PC1)
  • 17000L recirculating saltwater aquaria system
  • Research greenhouse
  • Three research vessels
  • On site equipment store
  • Phase contrast and fluorescence microscopy
  • Reverse Osmosis (RO) and Milli-Q Type 1 purified water
  • Fixed laminar flow cabinet
  • |80oC Freezer
  • High-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC)

Number of research staff

Upto 20 research staff


Heron Island, Great Barrier Reef, via Gladstone, 4680

Lead researchers

Achievements of the centre

  • Contributed to research on the impact of marine debris on sea turtles and sea birds, providing input to policy from a local to an international scale
  • Featured in multiple international documentaries, including National Geographic’s documentary "Manta Mystery", and Discovery Channel Canada documentary "Project Manta"

Organisation type

  • University Research Centre

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