Ecology detectives: species on the move on Heard Island

It was the 25
th November 1853. Captain John Heard sighted land*. Heard’s wife, who was on board, called the land “a frigid looking place”.


How right she was, and so wrong too. 



Heard Island. The view from aboard the Southern Supporter. © Robb Clifton

Research involving historical data can turn up many a query and solve many a mystery. So can investing in scientific research and monitoring. The following scientific expedition involved much detective work including historical literature which informed monitoring and research.

Heard Island crew

Heard Island 2003-2004 expeditioners (source Australian Antarctic Magazine Issue 7 Spring 2004)

On Heard Island, one hundred and fifty years after it was first sighted, 28 scientists and support crew landed. I went ashore with 12 people to ‘Try Pot Beach’ otherwise known as ‘The Spit’, as part of the Terrestrial Ecologist crew. So started two and a half months on subantarctic Heard Island. Continue reading


Dad of Drones

It all started back in 2010, when my husband came home and asked me what did I think of him starting a PhD on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV’s or drones)?  Well if I am honest, it started way before 2010 with remote control planes, but the drone interest is more recent. It’s pretty awesome for our kids that their dad works with these really cool toys. They even helped our kid’s school get a visit from the Emergency Helicopter. But they are not toys really. And let’s get one thing straight – the correct terminology is not ‘drone’, but ‘Unmanned Aerial Vehicles ‘(UAVs). But calling him “Dad of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles’ is too much of a mouthful and isn’t quirky. So, introducing, the ‘Dad of Drones’.

Darren flying an oktokopter over the moss beds at Casey Station, Antarctica.

“Dad of Drones” aka Darren, flying an oktokopter over the moss beds at Casey Station, Antarctica.

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