Australia Expedition: Day 4 – Koalas, Kangaroos, Whelks

The team enjoyed a quiet night in last night after the trip up from Sydney. The day today (Sunday) started with a trip up Mt Coo-tha, the tallest vista over the Brisbane region, where the team enjoyed a fantastic view of the city to Moreton Bay. Even though we study viruses, its still useful to understand ecosystem structure and catchment geography prior to launching into our research (which will happen on Wednesday out at the Moreton Bay Research Station).

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Next, the team traveled to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, which was more about learning native wildlife than related to our work. Still, the team learned a great deal about local wildlife both by direct contact, and by chatting with them one-on-one.

After a few hours feeding local animals, the team traveled to Wellington Point to catch the low tide shortly after midday. The team immediately went to work surveying intertidal habitats for amphipods and other benthic fauna. As there have been few descriptions of any amphipods in Moreton Bay, we wanted to gauge their abundance and identity, which proved quite a challenge: they are neither common nor large.

We did however find a few bona fide Gammarus-like amphipods under some rocks, and also found a couple of decapods to boot.

Left is decapod, right is amphipod (bit of a size difference).

Tomorrow the team will head to the UQ campus to meet up with collaborators Ian Tibetts and Dana Burfeind. The team is itching to get started on fieldwork – which will happen after we arrive on North Stradbroke Island on Weds.

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