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Queensland Term Abroad

North Stradbroke Island II

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Stradbroke Island VI
Working on projects

08 August
Research Projects — Over two days of intense work, students generated research project ideas, developed a research question, gathered data, performed preliminary analysis, and put their results together into professional presentations. Each group presented their results, explaining the questions they asked and the results they generated. They'll be working these projects up into detailed reports later. Topics included soldier crab species, gastropod niche preferences, and "Yabby" burrowing. (The Yabby is a local crawdad-looking marine arthropod that lives in the mud flats just off MBRS.)
Click here to see these MS Powerpoint presentations.

Stradbroke Island VII
Amy in forest

09 September
Species-Area curves — We spent the next few days with Mike Pole, getting to understand the geology of the island and how that controls the distribution of plants. To do that we first visited an area near Flinders Beach with (relatively) high nutrient soils, where we created species-area curves. Identifying unfamiliar plants created a steep learning curve, but, by the end, people were getting the hang of it. Afterwards we headed to Cylinder Beach for lunch and a swim.

Stradbroke Island VIII
Point Lookout Redux

09 September
Point Lookout Redux — That afternoon we made a second trip to Point Lookout, this time to concentrate on the geology. We saw a school of dolphins, but no whales. We clambered down to look more closely at the formation. It's part of the Brisbane Tuff, which is a misnomer, because it's really an ignimbrite, i.e. a volcanic deposit that was welded together by its own heat.

Stradbroke Island IX
Grass Tree Project

10 September
Grass Trees @ Amity Point — Continuing our study of Stradbroke's fire ecology, we spent the morning gathering data on fire frequency as recorded in Xanthorrhoea, the so-called "grass tree". We were hopeful that we'd find evidence that the fire regime changed after Europeans arrived. After a hot few hours, we retired to Cylinder Beach for lunch and another trek in the surf.

Stradbroke Island X
Myora Springs Sunset

10 September
Myora Springs — This afternoon we spent some time in the Dunwich Cemetery, surveying the graves for a population study. Afterward we made the short trip to Myora Creek, which flows out of the sand and onto the tidal flats, wending its way through mangrove roots to Moreton Bay. Mike timed our visit perfectly; we reached the outlet right at sunset. It was awesome, in the real sense of the word, and something we'll all remember.

Stradbroke Island XI
Sarah, Jen, and Brooke

11 September
Main Beach & 18 Mile Swamp — We began our last day at Straddie by cleaning up the marine station. Everyone chipped in, so the work went quickly. After cleanup, we headed to the east (ocean) side of the island one last time to create a botanical profile. We ate lunch at Brown Lake, took a brisk hike up the steep dunes, then loaded the bus and caught the ferry back to the mainland.