Staff (Lizard Island)

The Lizard Island Research Station has four full-time staff positions, all based at Lizard Island: two directors and two support staff. 

The two support positions are currently filled by two couples who each work for six months of the year.


Lyle Vail, MSc, PhD
Anne Hoggett, BSc(Hons), PhD

Accommodation and Transport Officer

Marianne Pearce
Tania Lamb

Maintenance Officer

Lance Pearce
Bob Lamb

Lyle Vail and Anne Hoggett

Lyle moved to Australia in 1975 from Minnesota USA. He completed an MSc on bryozoan ecology at the University of Sydney in 1978 then moved to the Australian Museum where he worked on echinoderms. Lyle conducted the field work for his PhD project on crinoid reproductive biology at Lizard Island in the early 1980s and the degree was awarded in 1989 by James Cook University. From 1985 to 1990, Lyle was curator of echinoderms and molluscs at the Northern Territory Museum in Darwin.

Anne is from Sydney, where she completed her BSc(Hons) in Zoology at the University of New South Wales in 1978. She found her niche as a taxonomist in the echinoderm department of the Australian Museum. Her first visit to Lizard Island was in 1982 to collect specimens for the Museum and to assist with Lyle Vail's PhD research project. Her own PhD on systematics of the brittlestar family Ophiotrichidae was awarded in 1991 by the University of Queensland through the University College of the Northern Territory.

Lyle and Anne are married and have a son, Alex Vail. They became the Research Station's fourth set of directors in August 1990. Alex was four when they moved to Lizard Island and he was schooled through the Cairns School of Distance Education with the assistance of home tutors to Year 8 level. Alex then moved to Sydney to continue his education in a mainstream school. He has since travelled widely, completed an Honours degree in Zoology and Marine Biology at James Cook University, and has recently started a PhD at the University of Cambridge. His research brings him back to Lizard Island periodically.

Tania Lamb and Bob Lamb

Tania's background is in clerical and administration work, and Bob is a qualified electrician. They spent four and a half years as staff of the Heron Island Research Station, Bob as maintenance manager and Tania as receptionist. They have travelled extensively within Australia, and to a lesser extent overseas, including 12 months on Christmas Island. Bob and Tania started at the Research Station as volunteers in 1995, then acted as relief maintenance staff on several occasions when Lance and Marianne Pearce were on leave. In 1998, this led to a regular arrangement in which the Lambs and the Pearces each work for six months of the year. Bob and Tania are on duty at Lizard between April to September. During their time away from Lizard Island, they travel and work in southern Australia and are usually based on the mid north coast of NSW. Both enjoy outdoor activities and have a keen interest in diving.

Marianne and Lance Pearce

Marianne was working for a finance company and Lance had been a sub-contractor building aluminium boats for seven years when they decided to change their lifestyle. They started work at the Research Station in 1988, little imagining that they would still be there in 2011.

Since 1998, they have worked only six months each year at the Station, from October to March. On the mainland, Lance and Marianne are busy on their ten acre rambutan orchard near Innisfail, 90 km south of Cairns. They enjoy travelling, metal detecting and camping when the fruit picking is finished. 

Dr Anne Hoggett , Director, Lizard Island Research Station
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Tags Lizard Island Research Station, LIRS,