Research Field Stations

Research About JCU Research Research Field Stations

James Cook University is equally committed to high quality and high impact research. To realise these outcomes, the University has invested substantially in structures and facilities to support research and development activity. Wherever possible these initiatives have been leveraged to obtain additional external investment and the best value outcomes in facility development.

One of several key aspects in JCU’s success lies in its unique geographical location. The advantages of this to our researchers and graduate students cannot be overstated, with ready access to the most spectacular and diverse natural laboratories in the world. Field site environments for research on coral reefs, tropical rainforests, coastal wetlands, woodland savannas and the arid outback are all available in our backyard. The University has invested in field research stations to take further advantage of this tropical landscape.


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Orpheus Island Research Station

Orpheus Island is located in the central Great Barrier Reef, east of Hinchinbrook Island. The station is surrounded by diverse biota and a variety of habitats including mangroves and fringing reefs, with a range of mid-shelf reefs nearby separated by sand and mud bottoms.

The facility has accommodation for up to 56 people and includes wet and dry labs, outdoor tanks and research vessels, providing researchers with outstanding access to diverse marine environments.

Fletcherview Research Station

Fletcherview is a working cattle station located 98 km southwest of Townsville. It is used for beef cattle production and reproduction research. The station incorporates laboratory facilities and accommodation

While JCU's Australian Institute of Tropical Veterinary and Animal Science predominantly make use of its facilities, Fletcherview is also visited by field biology, earth and environmental researchers. Regional high schools stop by for field trips and local beef cattle producers meet here for discussion days and workshops.

Paluma Rainforest Field Station

Situated in the township at the top of the Paluma range, this field station provides an excellent base from which researchers can access a wide spectrum of rainforest and dry forest environments. The Paluma State Forest is in the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area and protects valuable remnants of upland rainforest along the Paluma and Seaview Ranges, while just to the west the landscape progressively changes to dry sclerophyll forest of Hidden Valley.

Daintree Rainforest Observatory

Situated in lowland tropical rainforest at Cape Tribulation, the facilities include a canopy crane with access to the highest branches of the Daintree rainforest, the only one of its type in Australia. The 47 metre tall construction crane uses a gondola to transports researchers into the highest trees providing direct access to the diversity of life in the forest canopy.