Austrop: Australian Tropical Research Foundation


The Daintree tropical lowland forests, wetlands and shorelines present an inexhaustable array of potential research projects, from the very long term (e.g. plant flowering and fruiting phenology, micrometeorology) to the short term (HPLC analysis of ant gland contents and soil organisms). The Station is well equipped (2 aircon labs, extensive field equipment, HPLC, GC, Gel Electrophoresis, microscopes, histological facilities, and so on). The only limitations are the imagination and capabilities of the researcher.

Previous research has included:

  • Development of techniques for assisted regeneration of rainforests
  • Development of appropriate technology for living in the wet tropics (particularly energy conservation)
  • Productivity, phenology and pollination of cluster figs
  • Ecology of flying foxes (fruit bats) and their relatives
  • Conservation biology of flying foxes - particularly development of non-lethal deterrent systems (applied science/electrical engineering)
  • Rainforest and reef conservation
  • Chemical analysis of plant and insect materials
  • Weed control technologies
  • Plus a variety of projects by researchers inside and outside the Station

Current research includes:

  • Developing GPS collars for flying foxes
  • Developing GIS systems to go with this, and for mapping weed outbreaks
  • Hydrology of the Cape Tribulation basin
  • Development of instrumentation for various projects (we can use ALL the computer programmers and electronics engineers that might wish to come!)
  • Analysing the toxins of stinging trees
  • Recovery of littoral vegetation following removal of exotic weeds
  • Weed control
  • Energy use efficiency – especially developing hydrocarbon-based refrigerating systems
  • Great Barrier Reef work - though close to our heart, this project has been put on hold for the time being because of high water turbidity levels on the fringing reef - largely as a result of prawn trawling (shrimp boats). But even this presents us with some interesting projects, such as mapping coral and seaweed extent on the fringing reef.

There are also a number of tourism-based projects available - mostly conducting surveys of tour operators and tourists, and analysing the responses. We are particularly interested in visitor’s and tour operator’s attitudes relating to the natural environment and conservation. © 1988 - 2015 -