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.

Steve Irwin Memorial Lecture

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



FEAST 30 June - 4 July 2013


  29 June - 3 July 2014


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.

Advantages of attending FEAST
•    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 29 June and depart Thursday 3 July 2014

Enquiries: Email Karli Kollegger

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:


Key Dates for 2014:

18 April - Applications close

24 April - Successful offers sent out to students

16 May - Successful offers due back with full payment


Check out some recent testimonials from our 2013 FEAST cohort

The program gave me a clearer idea of what is involved in the program, courses and uni in general" Hannah G, Gympie SHS

“The information sessions on scholarships and campus life was very valuable” Megan B, Ormiston College

“Having past and present UQ students share their knowlege and experiences was valuable”
Savannah H, Coolum SHS

“The technology and equipment available was amazing! I loved being able to examine things at their molecular levelClaire H, Clayfield College

“The workshops were really informative and the program exposed us to all aspects of university life
Xander H, Bundaberg Christian College

“It was great, I had the best time and made some great friends and it was good having uni student ambassadors there to chat with and share why they love uni so much" 
Lochie L, St george SHS


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.



Science Faculty 3MT Final

Science Faculty 3MT Final

Faculty of Science 3MT final round


The 3MT is an academic competition that challenges PhD and Masters students to describe their research within three minutes to a general audience. 3MT celebrates the discoveries made by research students and encourages their skill in communicating the importance of research to the broader community.

The winning student will go on to represent the Faculty of Science in the UQ 3MT Final and may proceed to the 2014 Trans-Tasman 3MT Competition.

For more information about the 3MT Competition, click here.

2013 Final Round Event details

This round has been completed. Click here to see results.



Science Honours Week

Science Honours Week

26 - 30 August 2013
Meet potential supervisors and explore available Honours projects.

Science Honours Week 2013

Completing an Honours year with your science degree can open the door to many opportunities!

A science honours program provides you with the opportunity to pursue an independent research project in an area of your interest under the supervision of an academic staff member.

You will acquire skills which will enable you to work without close supervision in a research environment in industry or government, or to proceed to a research higher degree.

Through honours you can:

  • Undertake exciting original research
  • Develop skills highly sought by employers
  • Enhance your career prospects

To attend the Science Honours Week Events and explore your honours options, please register your attendance via the below online form.

Science Honours Week Events:

DATE Event Details
MON 26 Aug: EARTH SCIENCES - Information Session
12-1pm, Room 228, Bldg 3 - St Lucia

CENTRE FOR ADVANCED IMAGING - Information Session & Facilities Tour
12-1pm, Chemistry Podium, Bldg 68 - St Lucia
12-2pm, Chemistry Podium, Bldg 68 - St Lucia

12-12:30pm, Room 314, Bldg 3 – St Lucia
WED 28 Aug: AGRICULTURE AND FOOD SCIENCES I - Information Session for Gatton students & free light refreshments
12-1pm, Room 103, Bldg 8111 - Gatton

12-2pm, Chemistry Podium, Bldg 68 - St Lucia

PHYSICS - Information Session
4-6pm, Science Learning Centre, Bldg 67 - St Lucia
THU 29 Aug: AGRICULTURE AND FOOD SCIENCES II - Information Session for St Lucia students & free light refreshments
12-1pm, Room N202, Bldg 50 - St Lucia

VETERINARY SCIENCE - Information Session
12-1pm, Room 112, Bldg 8106 - Gatton

 - Information Booth 12-1pm, Chemistry Podium, Bldg 68 - St Lucia

BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES - Information Session
1-2pm, Room 385, Bldg 8 - St Lucia

MATHEMATICS - Information Session & free Pizza
4-5:30pm, Science Learning Centre, Bldg 67 - St Lucia
FRI 30 Aug: CHEMISTRY & MOLECULAR BIOSCIENCES - Information Session & free BBQ lunch
Hosted by the School of  Chemistry & Molecular Biosciences, also with information booths by the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN), the Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB), and The University of Queensland Diamantina Institute (UQDI)
12-1:30pm Chemistry Podium, Bldg 68 - St Lucia
For further information or to register, please visit the event website.
11-2pm, UQCCR, Bldg 71/918 - Herston


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:

  • UQ St Lucia - Qld Biosciences Precinct Auditorium (Building 80) July 15th 6.00-8.00pm
  • Kedron Wavell Services Club, Kedron July 22nd 6.00-8.00pm
  • Pacific Golf Club, 430 Pine Mountain Road Carindale July 29th 6.00-8.00pm




For enquiries please contact Jackie Mergard, Phone: 07 3365 3634 or Email: