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The Raymond E. Purves Laboratory comprises four air-conditioned rooms, a large ambient room with running seawater and wet benches, and a large covered breezeway.

Space in the Purves Lab is generally allocated to researchers who need to do messy work such as dissecting fish, sorting through rubble, chemically preserving specimens, or assembling bulky items of field gear. The large ambient room and the breezeway are ideal for these purposes and this is the only area on the station where fixative chemicals are allowed. Three of the air-conditioned rooms provide general lab and office space nearby for these researchers. The fourth airconditioned room can be made completely dark and has a vibration-free bench. This is useful for optical work and other special purposes.

The Thyne Reid Wing comprises three air-conditioned work rooms, a microscope room and a store room for lab equipment.

Fixative chemicals are not allowed in the Thyne reid Wing. Space in this area is generally allocated to researchers who just need office space or whose lab activities do not include fixatives.

LIRS provides laboratory equipment that is relevant for observing, experimentally manipulating and recording data from living organisms and for processing samples to a stage suitable for transport to laboratories with more sophisticated facilities.

Both the Thyne Reid Foundation and the Raymond E. Purves Foundation have contributed substantial funds to provide equipment for the laboratories.

Main items of laboratory equipment are:

  • Zeiss ***Olympus dissecting microscope with high resolution digital camera and monitor
  • Leitz Dialux 22 compound microscope with normal and fluorescence light sources
  • Numerous other dissecting microscopes
  • Cold fibre-optic light sources for microscopy
  • Autoclave
  • Laboratory oven
  • Laboratory incubator
  • Electronic balances (to 0.1 g and to 0.0001 g)
  • Centrifuge
  • 20 litre dewar for liquid nitrogen that can be filled in Cairns by prior arrangement
  • Water bath
  • Vortex
  • Fume cabinet
  • Hot plate/ stirrers
  • Distilled water maker
  • Domestic refrigerators (5 degrees C) and freezers (minus 20 degrees C)
  • Ice-making machine
  • Electrical transformers from 240 V to 110V

Equipment may be in use by others, off the island for service, or otherwise unavailable. For this reason, researchers must flag the need for particular items of equipment when booking their trips.

The Shuetrim Library has a small but appropriate selection of reef-related books and articles.

The Library also maintains a collection of scientific papers and theses based on work conducted at Lizard Island as well as most of the available identification guides relevant to the area. LIRS subscribes to New Scientist and Coral Reefs but not to other scientific periodicals. There is a photocopier and a DVD player and monitor for visitors' use.

The library is named in honour of Charlie and Sandy Shuetrim who have done so much to assist LIRS over many years.

Access references to Lizard Island Research Station publications and projects.

The Macquarie Seminar Room provides space and facilities for presentations and classroom sessions for up to 24 people. There is a whiteboard, digital projector and screen.

The Kirby Computer Room has desktop computers that can be used by all LIRS visitors.

Internet access is available in the lab area only at LIRS, enabled by an antenna that boosts the mobile signal from the mainland within a limited area. The only service provider that reaches the island is Telstra. Visitors with their own Telstra mobile account can use it on their own devices within the area that gets reception. Others can purchase wifi access from the LIRS account.

No medical personnel are stationed at Lizard Island. All LIRS staff are trained in remote area first aid including medical oxygen usage and these qualifications are updated annually.

LIRS has an extensive medical chest supplied by the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) containing medicines that can be provided when prescribed over the phone by an RFDS doctor.

LIRS also has advanced resuscitation and first aid equipment including medical oxygen, a defibrillator, and an extensive trauma kit.

RFDS doctors are available for phone consultations daily. Emergency medical evacuation from the island is arranged through the RFDS if necessary. The RFDS relies upon donations for its existence. Donations to the RFDS can be made through LIRS.

Australians are covered by Medicare for medical evacuations. Overseas visitors are advised to carry insurance that covers them for this risk.

The nearest recompression chamber is in Townsville.