Orpheus Island, our Classroom on the Reef

Making secondary school science curriculum meaningful, relevant and inspirational

Classroom on the Reef is a collaboration between James Cook University and the Queensland Department of Education and is situated at the Orpheus Island Research Station. Facilitated by a combination of outstanding science teachers, real-time science experiences and passionate professionals in the field, a visit to our Classroom will change the way you look at science.

What is Classroom on the Reef?

Classroom on the Reef provides what you need for engaging and inspiring learning so you can pick and choose elements that suit you.  Here's what's on offer:

  • Experience a world class research facility in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area,
  • Curriculum content designed for secondary school students, and
  • Live streaming underwater cameras, sensor data feeds and videos of the underwater environment.

Classroom on the Reef is made possible by the Queensland Department of Education Collaboration and Innovation Fund.

Experience life on a research station

Visiting students and teachers will love it here

Wake up to birdsong, have breakfast on the veranda overlooking the bay, watch whales spout on the horizon and spend the day investigating local reefs and working in the labs or lecture room. At the end of the day, enjoy a BBQ and watch the sun go down over the ocean while discussing your experiences. Our friendly staff may even drop by for a chat.  As night falls, you might try some spotlighting of the local wildlife.


  • A beautiful tropical island environment
  • Undertaking real research activities
  • Visiting the giant clam garden
  • Snorkelling and walking trips

What's going on under the water in Pioneer Bay?

Rockcod, coral trout, blacktip reef shark, turtle, yellowtail fusiliers, .... what will you see today?

Between the hours of 6am - 6pm AEST we live stream from our underwater camera in Pioneer Bay, Orpheus Island. Outside of those hours we make a video available that we recorded one morning on the bommie. Alternatively you can Meet the Residents via other videos.

What time is it now?

This camera is situated between a bommie (coral outcrop) and an acropora outcrop. Most of the time it will be facing the bommie but occasionally you may see a view of the acropora, or otherwise slowly scanning around.

What's the weather like on Orpheus today?

Our live streaming video camera will let you see what is happening now above the water in Pioneer Bay

This camera looks across the bay and over the position of the underwater camera.

Take a tour of Orpheus Island Research Station

situated on beautiful Pioneer Bay

Meet some researchers

How do people become marine scientists? What do they do in their day-to-day work?

Portrait of Professor Sean Connolly

Professor Sean Connolly

Watch the interview
A portrait of Professor Morgan Pratchett

Professor Morgan Pratchett

Watch the interview
Dr Alana Grech talking from her desk

Dr Alana Grech

Watch the interview

Location & Contact

Brought to you by
a group of dedicated educational institutions