Education at Reef HQ Aquarium
Reef Research - Reef HQ

Reef Research

As the National Education Centre for the Great Barrier Reef, the Aquarium aims to make a real contribution to high quality scientific research output and is in an ideal position to collaborate and support academic and scientific institutions and industry partners undertaking corporate research and development. This helps to provide a sustainable platform for Reef HQ Aquarium, contributes to our knowledge of the Great Barrier Reef, and makes science and innovation accessible to the community. Ultimately it contributes to better protection and conservation of the Great Barrier Reef.

Leopard Shark Captive Breeding Program

The Leopard Shark captive breeding program is an ongoing project, with new eggs laid and new pups hatching every year. The adult pair of leopard sharks (Stegostoma fasciatum) is the Reef HQ Aquarium Predator Tank have produced a number of offspring over the last few years, which eventually end up at other Aquariums all around the world. By giving these sharks to other Aquaria, Reef HQ Aquarium are able to reduce the number of sharks collected from the wild. Furthermore, the Reef HQ Aquarium captive sharks are more used to life in captivity than wild caught sharks and will thrive better in an aquarium setting.

The Reef HQ Aquarium captive breeding program involved the incubation of the eggs laid by the adult female (usually between 30 and 50 per year) and care of the subsequent pips. The Aquarists are Reef HQ Aquarium take measurements of each leopard shark to ensure their growth is normal and to better understand how to best protect them.

Female Leopard Shark receiving a scratch

The video clipping below highlights on a the Reef HQ Aquarium Aquarist's scratching a Leopard Shark that was born here at the Aquarium as part of the captive breeding and target training program. It is important to have a calm, relaxed, well handled animal so Reef HQ Aquarium Aquarist's can measure and weigh the shark on a regular basis. It is especially important to see how well the animal is growing by collecting data. Not only does this female Leopard Shark enjoy a scratch, she will swim back to the platform even when food is not presented. Please do not try this at home. Reef HQ Aquarium Aquarist's are trained professionals and have experience in handling marine life.


Last published on 14/05/2012

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Associated Sites

  • Australian Government - Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority
  • T-QUAL - Australian Tourism Quality Assured
  • Eco certified - Advanced Ecotourism
  • Australia Climate Action Business
  • Respecting Our Culture Certified

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