Research & Education
Current Research Programs - Reef HQ

Current Research Programs

Reef HQ Aquarium aims to contribute to scientific research. Current research programs include greening Reef HQ Aquarium, Algae and Fatty Acids, Juvenile Leopard Sharks, Turtle DNA, Sponge Reproduction, Chromis and Predators and Underwater Coral Guidebook.

Rays to Learn Shapes

This project investigates the behaviour of blue spotted lagoon rays in a captive environment

Read more on Rays to Learn Shapes

Mysids Bioassay

Feasibility of using juvenile Mysids as a water toxicity test plus artox preliminary investigation

Read more on Mysids Bioassay

Husbandry of Hammerhead Sharks

Reef HQ Aquarium has successfully hosted two scalloped hammerhead sharks in captivity. The journal article “Husbandry of scalloped hammerhead sharks Sphyrna lewini (Griffith & Smith, 1834) at Reef HQ Aquarium, Townsville, Australia” can be located at

Read more on Husbandry of Hammerhead Sharks

Reef Recovery

Reef recovery and the control of algal outbreaks. Reef HQ Aquarium provides a rare experimental setup for researchers to investigate the role of fish have on a recovery by grazing algae.

Read more on Reef Recovery

Depth Sensors on Dugongs

Testing of pressure sensors in Reef HQ Aquarium to compare the efficacy of a new sensor with the traditional ones, in order to understand dugongs' dive and surface behaviours of obtaining more accurate population abundance using aerial surveys

Read more on Depth Sensors on Dugongs

Greening Reef HQ Aquarium

Reef HQ Aquarium continually strives to minimise its environmental impacts by implementing a number of activities.

Read more on Greening Reef HQ Aquarium

Alga and Fatty Acids

Super seaweeds to the rescue! Genetic selection of high performance alga for the production of fatty acids.

Read more on Alga and Fatty Acids

Juvenile Leopard Sharks Project

Is it a sea snake? No, it's a baby leopard shark. Leopard sharks are the largest of the egg-laying shark species. As they grow from embryo to adult, they also undergo one of the most dramatic transitions in body markings.

Read more on Juvenile Leopard Sharks Project

Turtle DNA Collection

How can we collect samples from turtles in the ocean to study wild diseases? Reef research gives access to turtles in its Turtle Hospital to test a method for DNA sampling.

Read more on Turtle DNA Collection

Sponge Reproduction

Everyone knows and uses sponges but few know how they grow. So how can we farm sponges to supply the market in a sustainable way? Reef research helps understand the life cycle of these strange animals.

Read more on Sponge Reproduction

Chromis and Predators

Parent of the year award goes to the damselfish. How do damselfish offspring learn from their parents to escape predators? Reef research is looking to see if this skill is passed down from parent to juveniles.

Read more on Chromis and Predators

Underwater Coral Guidebook

Watch out! The coral reef exhibit is a hostile environment. An underwater guidebook to easily identify coral species by non-specialist has been published. Reef research helps test its resistance to the hostile marine conditions.

Read more on Underwater Coral Guidebook

Sawfish displayed in Aquaria

Is displaying endangered sawfish species in public aquaria serving conservation efforts to guarantee its long term survival in the wild? Surveys done with reef research are trying to work it out.

Read more on Sawfish displayed in Aquaria

Last published on 08/08/2014

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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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