2014 Steve Irwin Memorial Lecture

2014 Steve Irwin Memorial Lecture

Watch the lecture recording online here.

From left to right, Professor Craig Franklin, from UQ’s School of Biological Sciences;lecturer Dr Hamish Campbell; Executive Dean of the UQ Faculty of Science, Professor Stephen Walker; Terri and Bindi Irwin; and Robert Irwin.
From left to right, Professor Craig Franklin, from UQ’s School of Biological Sciences; lecturer Dr Hamish Campbell, University of New England; Professor Stephen Walker, Executive Dean of the UQ Faculty of Science; Terri Irwin AM and Bindi Irwin; and Robert Irwin.

Where the Wild Things Go

The 6th Annual Steve Irwin Memorial Lecture, proudly presented by The University of Queensland and Australia Zoo, recognising the legacy of Steve Irwin was held on Thursday 13 November 2014.

Dr Hamish Campbell from The University of New England, who is an expert in the emerging field of movement ecology, was the keynote speaker.

Dr Hamish Campbell is a world authority on animal movement research, and has tracked fish, sharks, birds and reptiles, from the tropics to the poles.

He discussed how thousands of animals are currently being tracked and monitored in Australia and how this research is helping scientists to better understand the patterns, causes, and consequences of animal movement.

Over 200 people, including Steve Irwin’s widow, Terri, and their children, Bindi and Robert, attended the lecture at the Abel Smith Lecture Theatre, at UQ’s St Lucia campus in Brisbane. The lecture was run in conjunction with Australia Zoo.

Video: 6th annual Steve Irwin Memorial Lecture 'The secret life of dragons' presented by Dr Hamish Campbell.

Flying Dinosaurs with John Pickrell

Flying Dinosaurs with John Pickrell

How dinosaurs became the birds in our backyards


Join Australian Geographic editor, John Pickrell, as he discusses how dinosaurs became the birds in our backyards.

His book Flying Dinosaurs: How fearsome reptiles became birds delves into the latest discoveries in China, the US, Europe and uncovers a thriving black market in fossils and infighting between dinosaur hunters, plus the controversial plan to use a chicken to bring dinosaurs back from the dead.

This free event is part of the Brisbane Writers Festival Visiting Author Program.

Event details

Date: Thursday 4th September 2014

Venue: GHD Auditorium, Advanced Engineering Building #49, The University of Queensland, St Lucia

Cost: Free.

Time: 5:30 - 7:30pm

The World Heritage Riversleigh Project

The World Heritage Riversleigh Project

Unfolding understanding about Australia’s past, present and future

The World Heritage Riversleigh Project: Unfolding understanding about Australia’s past, present and future

Event Details

Date: Friday 7 February 2014
Time: 4:00 - 5:00pm
Venue: Forgan Smith Building (#1), room E-302

Michael Archer


While Riversleigh fossils in northwestern Queensland came to world attention in 1994 following listing of Riversleigh as a World Heritage property, fossils from limestones in this region have attracted researchers’ attention for more than 150 years. Our ARC-supported research, begun in the late ‘70s, has involved more than 100 researchers in 26 institutions in 11 countries. It has more than trebled previous knowledge about the palaeodiversity and phylogenetics of Australian terrestrial vertebrates.

Some of the deposits are rich also with invertebrates and plants. Many of the discoveries represent the first fossil records for entire families of modern vertebrates. Considering just mammals spanning the last 26 million years, hundreds of new species, genera, families and even a new order of very weird mammals have been described. Oligocene to Miocene mammal faunas are more diverse than any elsewhere in Australia today or at any time in its past. Forest birds being discovered compliment understanding about water birds known from 26-24 myo deposits in central Australia.

Currently as much research focuses on structure and function of vertebrates represented by articulated skeletons, as on palaeobiodiversity. Riversleigh palaeohabitats and their faunas have changed over the last 26 years from cool temperate forest in the late Oligocene, to perpetually wet rainforests in the early to middle Miocene, to cool, dry increasingly more open vegetation in the late Miocene, to a brief interval of wetter conditions in the early Pliocene and then back to increasingly drier, more modern habitats through the Pleistocene. The record spans 2.5 climate change cycles. More than 200 distinct fossil deposits have been identified including Oligocene-Pliocene lacustrine and karst deposits and Quaternary karst and fluviatile deposits. Five Faunal Zones and five Depositional Phases are recognised. U/Pb radiometric dates now being obtained from palaeospeleothems in conjunction with the University of Melbourne are testing and in general corroborating previous age determinations based on biocorrelation.

This research has resulted in over 300 publications and about 32 Honours and 45 PhD theses with most of these students obtaining professional jobs. Transcendent programs building on this understanding include assessment of long-term conservation status of contemporary lineages and use of increased understanding about palaeoecological resilience to develop translocation strategies to thwart extinction of climate-change threatened species. Recent research based on remote sensing by satellites has unexpectedly revealed that there may be more unexplored fossiliferous deposits west of the World Heritage area than occur within that area. A grant from the National Geographic Society funded a helicopter to enable us to explore a small part of this new region in 2013. As important as the scientific discoveries that have been, our whole team and the public volunteers who work with us have always had a tremendous amount of fun making and interpreting these discoveries at Riversleigh which, so far, show no signs of slowing down.

About the speaker

Professor Michael Archer is a mammalogist/palaeontologist and phenomenal scientist. He was one of the lead researchers who brought the famous World Heritage-listed Riversleigh fossil site to the world’s attention, and is currently part of the team working on bringing the recently extinct back to life.

You can watch him in action here: Michael Archer: How we'll resurrect the gastric brooding frog, the Tasmanian tiger

He has published over 270 papers, many books, and supervised numerous students over the years including Professor Tim Flannery, Dr Paul Willis (formerly a presenter on ABC’s Catalyst TV program), as well as current UQ researchers Drs Vera Weisbecker and Steve Salisbury (UQ School of Biological Sciences), and Kenny Travouillon (UQ School of Earth Sciences).

Event contact

Dr Kenny Travouillon

Why counting chickens could save your life

Why counting chickens could save your life

Laureate Professor Peter Doherty discusses his latest book Sentinel Chickens about emerging diseases.

Why counting chickens could save your life

Since the early 20th century mankind has been using birds to identify the presence of environmental hazards. In the 21st century we are using them to also warn of infections which now cross animal/human barriers.

Join Nobel Prize Winner and UQ alumnus, Laureate Professor Peter Doherty AC, as he shares insights about the threats we face from emerging diseases, how the One Health concept might provide a solution and why counting chickens could save your life.

Event details:  

Date: Thursday 6th September 2012
Time: 6:15pm - 8:00pm
  6:15pm - 6:45pm:  Light refreshments served
6:45pm - 7:45pm:  Presentation followed by Q&A session
Location: Auditorium, Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB) Building 80, St Lucia campus
RSVP: This event has reached capacity so registrations are now closed.

About the presenter:

Professor Peter Doherty, AOLaureate Professor Peter Doherty's pioneering research into human immune systems earned him the Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine in 1996. He was Australian of the Year and awarded a Companion of the Order of Australia in 1997 and currently divides his professional time between the University of Melbourne and St Jude Children’s Hospital in Memphis, where he is helping unravel the mystery of childhood cancer.

He is the author of The Beginner’s Guide to Winning the Nobel Prize: A Life in Science, A Light History of Hot Air and Sentinel Chickens.

Laureate Professor Peter Doherty is presenting at the 2012 Brisbane Writers Festival courtesy of the Faculty of Science, UQ. He is presenting this event on campus as part of the Festival's Visiting Authors Program.

2013 Steve Irwin Memorial Lecture

2013 Steve Irwin Memorial Lecture

Watch the lecture recording online here.

From left to right, Executive Dean of the UQ Faculty of Science, Professor Stephen Walker; Bindi and Terri Irwin; Professor Craig Franklin, from UQ’s School of Biological Sciences; Robert Irwin; and lecturer Dr Tim Jessop.
From left to right, Executive Dean of the UQ Faculty of Science, Professor Stephen Walker; Bindi and Terri Irwin; Professor Craig Franklin, from UQ’s School of Biological Sciences; Robert Irwin; and lecturer Dr Tim Jessop.

Climate change threatens giant dragons

Indonesia’s endangered Komodo dragons are at risk from the effects of climate change but unlikely to move to more suitable environments, integrative ecologist Dr Tim Jessop told The University of Queensland’s 5th annual Steve Irwin Memorial Lecture on Wednesday, November 13, 2013.

Dr Jessop’s decade-long research program has identified there are fewer than 4,000 dragons remaining on the five Indonesian islands where they live.

“They could move, but they don’t. There’s a strong selection against dispersal for many island animals, including Komodo dragons,” he said.

“I’m not optimistic about the future for many endemic Indonesian species, but we’ll continue to do what we can to preserve the dragons.”

Dr Jessop said dragons’ fear of the unknown was likely to be a factor preventing them from swimming to other islands or, on larger islands, moving to alternative areas where they could potentially be attacked by other large, aggressive male dragon populations.

Male Komodo dragons live longer than the females and grow much larger. The females devote their energy and resources to building “colossal” nests, which they guard for up to six months while their eggs hatch, reducing their feeding during that time.

“They emerge emaciated after leaving the nest and that reduces their life expectancy,” Dr Jessop said.

The biased sex ratio means males fight hard to be stronger and bigger than their rivals. They can weigh up to 90kg and measure up to three metres long. The males can live up to 70 years, while females are more likely to die before reaching 35 years.

Dr Jessop said the dragons needed security and protection, with boundaries marked around their reserves to ensure human populations did not encroach further.

He and his fellow researchers were developing education programs so Indonesian islands’ inhabitants were more aware of the need to preserve the dragons and their habitat.

Dr Jessop’s work began as an exercise to count the numbers of Komodo dragons but became a quest for the UQ doctoral graduate to understand how disturbances in environmental influences might affect the fitness of individuals to shape population and community dynamics.

“This study is giving scientists a much better understanding of the dragons’ ecology, evolution and life history,” he said.

Almost 300 people, including Steve Irwin’s widow, Terri, and their children, Bindi and Robert, attended the lecture at the Abel Smith Lecture Theatre, at UQ’s St Lucia campus in Brisbane. The lecture was run in conjunction with Australia Zoo.

Video: 5th annual Steve Irwin Memorial Lecture 'The secret life of dragons' presented by Dr. Tim Jessop.

Media contact: UQ Faculty of Science Communications Consultant Kate Tilley on (07) 3831 7500 or 0418 741606 or email communications@uq.edu.au

Experience Science 2016


Join our mailing list to be notified when registrations open for Experience Science 2016!

Thursday 14 July
Friday 15 July
Tuesday 19 July
Wednesday 20 July 

What is Experience Science?
Experience Science is a free event which provides students in years 10 - 12 the opportunity to discover what studying science is like at UQ and how science is applied in industry and everyday life. The event is facilitated by experts from UQ and industry through a series of hands-on, interactive science workshops. All workshops are held at the UQ St Lucia campus.

Students will be provided with snacks and drinks for morning tea, but must bring their own lunch.

Thousands of students from Queensland and northern New South Wales have attended and enjoyed Experience Science over the past eleven years.



Science lecture
Presentation by current UQ science students
Morning tea and workshop allocation
Workshop 1
Workshop 2
Workshop 3
Assemble for departure
Depart OR
Optional campus tour (must pre-book)


What happened at Experience Science in 2015?

Students attended a science lecture delivered by a UQ academic and a presentation by current UQ science students. Students also attended workshops about zombie viruses, photochemistry, stunt workers, puzzles and problem solving, plants, soil and solar cells.


If you have any questions regarding this event please contact the Experience Science team: 



FEAST 30 June - 4 July 2013


26 June - 30 June 2016

Online registrations open 1 March.

Please submit an Expression of Interest.


Future Experiences in Agriculture, Science and Technology (FEAST) is a five day residential program designed to inspire and inform high school students of the range of exciting and rewarding science careers in the agriculture, animal, plant and food sectors.

Important Dates:

  • 24 April 2016 - Registrations close 
  • 29 April 2016 - Applicants will be notified via email if they have been successful and paperwork will be mailed out the following week.
  • 23 May 2016 - Payment and completed paperwork due.

Why attend FEAST?

•    test drive university and meet other students with similar interests
•    explore science disciplines through hands on activities and workshops
•    attend industry run sessions reinforcing the many exciting career outcomes on offer to graduates
•    experience living in the Halls of Residence and take part in fun social and sporting activities
•    chat with current university students and staff and have all your questions answered
•    expand your knowledge of UQ study options and programs, careers and campus life

Cost: $350.00. Price includes 4 nights accommodation, all meals, program activities and bus tours.

Where: The University of Queensland Gatton Campus

When: Check in Sunday 26 June 2016 and depart Thursday 30 June 2016

Enquiries: Email: feast@uq.edu.au

FEAST is open to students in years 10, 11 and 12 however preference will be given to year 11 and 12 students if numbers are limited.

For more information on our science programs visit: www.science.uq.edu.au/future-undergrad




Postgraduate Luncheon with Dr Tim Jessop

Postgraduate Luncheon with Dr Tim Jessop

14 November 2013, 11:45am at the AIBN Seminar Room (Bld #75)

Banner for Postgraduate Luncheon with Tim Jessop

Dr Tim Jessop during fieldwork at Komodo National Park.

Dr Tim Jessop during fieldwork  
at Komodo National Park.

WHEN Thursday, 14 November 2013, 11:45 for a light lunch, followed by a presentation from 12pm to 1pm.

WHERE AIBN Seminar Room, level 1, AIBN Building (#75), St Lucia Campus

WHO Students enrolled in Science Honours, Masters and RHD programs in areas such as Biology, Conservation, Environmental Management, Environmental Science, Veterinary Science, Wildlife Science or Zoology

RSVP Early RSVP is essential as seating is limited. Please register via the below form.


From UQ science graduate to renowned integrative ecologist…

A graduate of UQ’s PhD (2000) program, Tim first focussed his research on fish and sea turtles before moving onto land to study the then enigmatic Komodo dragons. His studies have taken him to the rugged island landscapes of the Komodo National Park and have shed a light on the amazing biology of the dragons, their ecology, evolution and ability to adapt to environmental change.

At this exclusive luncheon for Faculty of Science students Tim will share his career highlights commencing as a UQ science student through to becoming a renowned integrative ecologist credited with having led the first decade-long, intensive field study into Komodo dragons.

His research identified that there are likely to be about 3,500 Komodo dragons scattered across 10 sites on four islands, mainly within Indonesia’s Komodo National Park. The high-quality data his team has accumulated is extremely valuable in assessing the reptile’s future.

In 2006, Tim moved to the Conservation Department of Melbourne Zoo and then a joint position with the zoo and Melbourne University. He still travels twice annually to Indonesia, spending three to four weeks a year conducting additional field research on the Komodo dragon project.

Tim’s research is now progressing to using ecological and evolutionary theory to implement environmental management. The questions he poses include assessing the impact of any loss of the apex predators.

 Download the event flyer here.



Year 10 Subject Selection Evenings

Year 10 Subject Selection Evenings

Discover year 11 and 12 subjects for your greatest options for university entry.

Find your future

If you are interested in a career in Engineering, ICT, Health, Medicine or Science, discover which year 11 and 12 subjects will provide you the greatest options for university entry.

Year 10 Subject Selection Evenings

All Year 10 Students, their parents and careers counsellors are invited to attend the Year 10 Subject Selection Evenings at a range of locations around Brisbane in July.

Find out which subjects in years 11 and 12 provide the best entry pathways into and preparation for degrees in Engineering, ICT, Science, Medicine and Health.

UQ staff will be on hand to speak to students, parents and teachers about specific programs and general university admission.

Information sessions for specific programs will also be presented.

Dates and Locations:

  • TBA 


For enquiries please contact Jackie Mergard, Phone: 07 3365 3634 or Email: j.mergard@uq.edu.au