G’Day, Fellow!

I attended the Society for Freshwater Science’s shared conference in Brisbane, Australia, earlier this month. I was in Australia from June 1-11 and got the pleasure of seeing old friends and colleagues, as well as meeting new ones. I also got to partake in some leisurely activities on my off time and on my extended stay after the conference. I am so excited to share my journey (and some photographs) with you all.

I started my adventure by flying from Savannah to Brisbane with two stops along the way. After arriving, we immediately dropped our stuff off and a group of my friends and I headed to the Australia Zoo. We spent the day at the zoo and got to see a lot of the native flora and fauna of Australia. Some key highlights would be the massive saltwater crocodiles which can grow up to 17 feet long. I also got to see one of my favorite birds, the cassowary. They were fairly shy and it was hard to get photos of them. There was a lot to see around the zoo, but you can tell the animals are very well taken care of.

The conference included seminars including for data analysis and Rstudio coding. I want to thank Dr. Eric Moddy and Dr. Felicia Osburn for giving me the opportunity to attend this conference and bringing me along through the STOICH Project. I learned some new skills using coding and helped make a cool graph for the project. After the seminar, I was able to kayak the Brisbane River and learn from the guides about the river and the city.

June 5 and 6 were spent supporting the National Science Foundation program Emerge Fellows during their presentations in the morning and early afternoon. Our group also took a trip to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Brisbane. They do a lot of local rehabilitation of animals in the Queensland area. We ended up seeing many koalas, birds, Tasmanian devils, kangaroos, wallabies, and even a platypus. I also got to experience feeding rainbow lorikeets and one even landed on my head!

June 7 was an intensive day with an all day trip that included a tour to see glow worms! The tour started by driving out to Springbrook Natural Park and stopping by a large dam along the way. In the park, we walked through the rainforest and saw a natural glow worm cave with a waterfall that broke through the middle of it. It was too bright during the day to see them glowing in their natural habitat, though. From there we headed over to Mount Tamborine and got to do ecotourism at a man-made glow worm cave built to protect and teach people about the glow worms. Glow worms are extremely susceptible to light so there are no pictures of them, but I highly encourage people to watch the PBS episode of SciTechNow on Glow Worms and how they glow.

Glow worm cave

At the end of the conference I said my goodbyes to new friends before heading on my own to explore the city of Brisbane. I got to see some great flora and fauna in the Roma Street Parklands and the Brisbane Botanical Gardens. The city is filled with flying foxes everywhere. They’re kind of hard to photograph, but super cute to observe sleeping in the trees.

Mulgumpin (Moreton Island)

On my last day, I made it out to Moreton Island, just outside of Brisbane. The island has great bird watching. There are also a lot of shipwrecks and other snorkeling and diving spots filled with fishes. The island is home to the largest stable sand dune in the world as well. I got to see a lot of cool birds and fish as I explored the island and the beach. It was the perfect ending to my trip.