Heron Island Research Station

Together we can make a difference

You know the Great Barrier Reef is beautiful and rich in marine life.

And you know it is under threat from climate change and destructive species such the crown-of-thorns starfish.

But did you also know that is also the key to unlocking answers to many of the society’s greatest challenges?

Its animals, plants and microbes develop chemicals that in the future will be used to cure disease, concentrate valuable metals from the ocean, and manufacture structures beyond human engineering.

For instance, the humble sea sponge can turn sea water into highly purified and strong glass that outperforms the best fibre optics humans produce. Their genes allow them to do this in an environmentally-friendly way- no need for nasty chemicals. Sponges can also purify huge volumes of seawater and produce a wide range of chemicals of high value to humans.

The potential life-altering secrets the Reef holds for all of us are endless. For the sake of everyone around the world, we cannot let this living wonder die.

“The humble sea sponge or snail could unlock technological breakthroughs that might alter the course of human existence.”

Let’s partner together to take real action - right here on the reef

Like you, we will not sit back and hope for the best.

Heron Island Research Station brings together the world’s leading marine researchers to a cutting-edge facility located in the middle of the Reef itself.

It means these global experts are in the right place to tackle these issues head on.

However, the challenges are immense and there is so much more we could to make a genuine difference with the help of visionary donors like you.

We have already made discoveries that will make a huge difference

The crown-of-thorns starfish is one of the Reef’s fiercest enemies.

They destroy living coral, breed in massive numbers, and are dispersed over reefs throughout the Pacific and Indian Oceans. That makes removing them almost impossible.

What if instead of finding them we could convince these starfish to come to us?

Our researchers found the genes these creatures use to communicate to each other and are developing environmentally safe baits that trick them into gathering in one place.

It’s a real solution, and the type of innovative thinking that comes when passionate experts operate in the very environment they can save.

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Let us help you

If you would like to discuss your gift, please contact UQ Advancement.


+61 7 3346 3909 — Mon-Fri 9am-5pm (AEST)




UQ Advancement
The University of Queensland
Brisbane QLD 4072