Since its inception in 1978, The Lizard Island Reef Research Foundation has raised more than $10.7 million to support science on the Reef.

The Research Station is seeking to sustain its current operations, expand its Fellowships & Grants program, enhance its function as a Biodiversity Hub and further energise its engagement with science students and visitors.

You can support these and other projects by making a donation. Donations are tax-deductible in Australia.

At the Lizard Island Research Station, about 100 research projects are carried out each year by professional scientists and postgraduate research students from Australia and overseas. This work has resulted in more than 1700 scientific publications. The knowledge contained in these publications is available to reef managers worldwide, who use it to develop plans for conservation of coral reefs.

This level of output can only be achieved because the Research Station provides the facilities that scientists need, right on the Reef. The Station would not be able to operate and our fellowship program would not be possible without the continuing support of donors and members of the Lizard Island Reef Research Foundation.

By 1992, 10% of the world's coral reefs had already been damaged beyond repair and a further 60% were considered to be under threat. Humans are directly responsible for much of this damage through destructive fishing practices, poor coastal management and global warming. The massive climate-related coral bleaching event of 1998 pushed the estimate of destroyed reefs to 27% of the world's total. For further details, see "Status of Coral Reefs of the World: 2000" by Clive Wilkinson, available as a pdf file on the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network website.

We know very little about this vast treasure house. For example, the spectacular annual mass coral spawning on the Great Barrier Reef was discovered as recently as the 1980s. There is so much to learn about coral reefs - we have only just scratched the surface.

Any form of underwater research is expensive and it is even more so in locations remote from major population centres. Island research stations provide the most cost-effective way of facilitating research on coral reefs. In Australia and elsewhere, however, government funding is inadequate to develop and maintain island research stations. Scientists and other users pay fees that cover operating expenses at the Lizard Island Research Station, but these are not sufficient to allow for any capital development. Such funding must come from individuals and from industry.

The Lizard Island Reef Research Foundation and its donors support numerous research programs at Lizard Island.

The Foundation's Science Committee and the Australian Museum award the following Fellowships and Grants:

  • Lizard Island Doctoral Fellowship
  • Ian Potter Doctoral Fellowship at Lizard Island
  • Isobel Bennett Marine Biology Fellowship
  • John and Laurine Proud Fellowship
  • Yulgilbar Foundation Fellowship
  • Lizard Island Reef Research Foundation Fellowship
  • Crown-of-Thorns Starfish Research Grant
  • Plastic Pollution Research Grant

Internships are also supported by the Foundation to provide training and experience for excellent undergraduate students of marine science.

You can support these and other projects by making a donation. Donations are tax-deductible in Australia.

The Foundation recognises several levels of support:

  1. Friends who have given up to $999 in the current or previous financial year
  2. Members who have given $1,000 or more in the current or previous financial year. Some Members also donate in the names of their children and grandchildren. Some give larger amounts to fund specific fellowships or particular capital items such as research vessels, laboratories, aquaria and solar power installations.
  3. Life Members who have given $100,000 or more, or who have pledged to give this amount over a period of up to five years. We are fortunate to have a number of wonderful supporters who have become Life Members.
  4. Patrons are appointed by the Foundation's board of trustees in recognition of their substantial contributions to the affairs of the Foundation.

Current supporters receive an annual newsletter to keep them in touch with the Research Station's activities and developments. As well, they are welcome to tour the Research Station when they visit Lizard Island.

Each year, the Foundation hosts events in Sydney and Melbourne to update donors on the state of the Reef and how their funds are being put to good use.

Support our science at the Australian Museum’s Lizard Island Research Station.


  • the Great Barrier Reef is hugely important;
  • the science advances knowledge of life and informs reef conservation;
  • the Station is one of the world’s best reef research facilities and advances marine science careers;
  • the science depends on continuing donor support;
  • LIRRF provides a super-efficient funding channel where you will see your funds being put to good use; and because we have a sense of wonder!

LIRRF has no staff or office. Trustees contribute their services on a voluntary basis and are substantial donors in their own right. The Australian Museum provides administrative support. This enables LIRRF to operate with very low overhead costs. All donations go to support field research facilities at the Station and scientific research on the Great Barrier Reef.


The late Sir John Proud


Andrew Green
Des Griffin AM
Raymond Kirby AO
Jacqueline Loomis
The Ian Potter Foundation
Robert Purves AM
Frank Talbot AM
Thyne Reid Foundation

Trustee Emeritus

Kenneth Coles AM
James Bildner (USA)


Kate Hayward, Chair
Charlie Shuetrim AM, Chair, Appeal Committee
David Armstrong
Greer Banyer
Dr Penny Berents, Chair, Science Committee

Allison Haworth-West
Anna Le Deux
Dr Rod Kefford AM FACE
Wendy King
James Kirby
Prof Lynne Madden
Kim McKay AO
Heather Power
Robert Purves AM
Dr Geoff Shuetrim
Helen Wellings