Ferns on Lizard Island

Last summer (winter?) in Australia, I traveled to Lizard Island to study the ferns there. Lizard Island is located off the coast of northeastern Australia in the Great Barrier Reef.

Lizard Island was named by Captain Cook because of the large goannas that roam the island.


As far as field work goes, it was a pretty comfortable place to work.

There is a small swamp in the middle of the island, and that is where my ferns are located. The only way around the island is on foot, so I carried my gear with me.

The mangrove ferns grow along the edges of the swamp, among the mangrove tree roots. They are difficult to spot and were only recently discovered on Lizard Island.

While measuring water salinity, I had to be mindful of the crocodiles. Various precautions were necessary…

The community of students and researchers on Lizard Island makes it a lovely place to work! Saturday beach barbecue is a time-honored tradition.


Even in my lab, I was never alone.

My measurements were successful, and I’m analyzing the data now. Stay tuned for what I find!

Sunrise/moonset at Loomis


Photos by Helen Holmlund.


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