Orpheus Research


Get easy access to the Great Barrier Reef’s inshore reefs and islands. Work with our wealth of scientific resources including climate-controlled research rooms, wet laboratories, a versatile saltwater aquarium system and six aquarium raceways.

We are proud to have hosted a diverse range of research including studies that examined:

  • The recovery of benthic communities from severe Tropical Cyclone Yasi
  • The role of herbivores in phase shifts
  • Interrelationships of fish and coral
  • Habitat use of sharks and rays
  • Coral disease, bleaching and genetics
  • The impact of stress on the calcifying machinery of corals, and
  • The effect of sedimentation on sponges.

divers leaving the water.

Research activities are to be conducted within accordance with permission from relevant governing agencies, JCU’s Code of Conduct, and OIRS Environmental Management Plan. All permits must be provided to OIRS before the commencement of research.

Permits that may be required for a user to conduct their research activities are:

It is the responsibility of the user to ensure they apply and obtain the correct permits for their research however OIRS will offer advice and assistance if requested by the user.

While planning your trip to Orpheus Island Research Station, please familiarize yourself with the GBRMPA zoning rules. Non-compliance of zoning rules can seriously impact the health of the marine environment and significant penalties apply.

Zoning maps can be found on your smartphone or computer via the free Eye on the Reef app or the website.

zoning map of Orpheus area

Risk assessments must be submitted to OIRS prior to commencement of visit.

For JCU clients this can be submitted through Riskware.

Orpheus Island has a range of research, education and accommodation facilities available. For more information visit Facilities

OIRS Morris Family Trust Student Research Grant Scheme

The Morris Family Trust is a funding source for research. The scheme aims to provide support for projects conducted at Orpheus Island Research Station and to promote excellence in research by Ph.D., MPhil, and Honours students. The grant will provide in-kind Station resources (accommodation fees, boat use, OIRS staff hire etc.) valued up to $3000 to support their research in a manner that has the capacity to enhance research at the OIRS through the production of high-quality publications.

To be eligible, students must be currently enrolled in a Ph.D., MPhil, or Honours program from any university. Successful applicants will be eligible to apply to the scheme in subsequent years, subject to the submission of a suitable grant report and their continued enrolment in post-graduate study.

Guidelines for applicants are included in the MFT application form. Applications are now closed and will re open early 2025. For more information, please contact Orpheus Island Research Station at orpheus@jcu.edu.au.

2024 Grant Recipients

  • Ambre Estrada-Tournie de Tourniel
  • Alexander Waller
  • Sasha Faul
  • Sydney Bell

2023 Grant Recipients

  • Eric Vlaanderen
  • Kelsey Webber
  • Stefano Borghi
  • William Collins

2022 Grant Recipients

  • Alexandra Tauman
  • Ebba Dahlstroem
  • Helen Yan
  • Jaelen Myers

2021 Grant Recipients

  • Erika Gress
  • Julia Hung
  • Nicolas Lubitz
  • Sandra Erdmann

2020 Grants Recipients

  • Eoghan Ashton
  • Shiori Kanno
  • Augustine Crosbie
  • Jeremy Horowitz

2019 Grant Recipients

For more information visit Resources