Saving Queensland's Manatees & Dolphins

Moreton Bay is home to Moreton Island, which attracts many tourists with its crystal-clear lakes, pristine lagoons, and abundant marine life. But as Brisbane grows, this vital marine ecosystem faces extreme threats from coastal development, pollution, and increased freight traffic (the city has one of Australia’s fastest growing container ports).

Help scientists figure out exactly how industrialization is affecting Moreton Bay by snorkeling, boating, and wading in its clear waters. You will collect ecological data on the sediment, seagrass, and small fish and marine animals living there to determine how humans are changing the ecosystem. Seagrass, small fish and marine animals are key food sources for larger animals, such as fish, dugongs, and dolphins, so the health of these resources is important to the animals that call the bay home.

The information you collect will go into a report on the health of Moreton Bay, which researchers will use to educate the community and encourage politicians to protect this vital marine ecosystem. You can be a part of this important scientific research in subtropical Queensland, and see amazing wildlife in a beautiful environment along the way.

Expeditions are cost approximately $2800 (varies with currency fluctuation), are 7 days in length, include meals, accommodation, local transfers, training/lectures, and a modest contribution goes to the ongoing sustainability of the program.

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What to Expect?

The capital city of Brisbane sits about 14 kilometers from the ocean at Moreton Bay. Pollutant from the city and the rural areas around it enter the bay through the Brisbane River. This decreases water quality in the bay, which threatens seagrass and small marine animals, resulting in less food for larger animals like dugongs.

It also means fewer resources for the people who live near the bay. Moreton Island, which has protected status as a national park, draws tourists with its abundant wildlife and beautiful beaches. Fishing is also a big industry. If pollution and coastal development is allowed to destroy the area’s natural resources, many livelihoods are at stake.

To protect the bay and its wildlife, researchers need more information on the effects of coastal development and pollution. That’s where you come in. You’ll collect the environmental data needed to develop a clear conservation management to plan for this precious marine ecosystem.

On a typical research day, you’ll start off with an early breakfast and then prepare the equipment for the day’s activities. The team will be broken up into several groups and will rotate through the different research activities, so you’ll get a chance to try everything. Each group will have morning tea break.
During the day, you will:

•    Snorkel to monitor sea grass. You’ll note where sea grass is growing and what condition it is in. You’ll also collect samples.

•    Take samples and record video from a boat. You’ll collect sediment samples to see how much there is and what it is composed of. You’ll also use underwater video cameras to map sea grass.

•    Explore the shore and shallow water. You’ll walk across sand and mud flats and intertidal rock pools to collect and identify small fish and other marine creatures that inhabit the seagrass meadows.

The exact timing of these activities depends on the tides, and will change depending on the team you join. The team will return to the accommodations around 5:00 p.m. each evening, so you’ll have time to shower and relax before dinner. On some nights, you’ll examine the samples you’ve collected in the lab or help organize data. You’ll also have some free nights so you can relax and enjoy the beauty of Moreton Bay.

Teams will stay in one of two comfortable options on Moreton Bay: Tangalooma Island Resort or Moreton Bay Research Station. Both accommodations have spectacular bay views and shared rooms, as well as full kitchens and lounge areas. The research station also has a library and a lab where you’ll spend some afternoons analyzing data.

The lead scientist of this expedition prizes good food, so expect to eat accordingly. You’ll assemble your own breakfasts of cereal, toast, fruit, and/or pastries. You’ll take packed lunches out into the field with you and enjoy home-cooked meals for dinner each night.


  • Program ID: # 2583
  • duration:
    1 to 2 Weeks
  • location:
    Moreton Bay
    27° 11' 56.9364" S, 153° 22' 24.726" E
  • Fitness level:
    Moderately Fit
    Very Fit
  • Closest Airport:
    Brisbane (BNE)
  • Costs From:
    Over $3000
  • Program Type:
    Environmental & Wildlife Programs
  • Click Here for More Info

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