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15 September: Why Is An Arts Grad Going On A Scientific Survey? (Timor-Leste Expedition)

By: Michael Hugill, Category: Science, Date: 15 Sep 2012

With the terrestrial trip completed, the Museum is about to embark on the marine stage of its expedition to Timor-Leste.

Timor-Leste Terrestrial Expedition #89

Andrew Mitchell © Australian Museum

Contrary to popular belief, the Australian Museum is not just a place of dinosaurs, awe-struck children and the occasional snore-struck teenage student.

It's also a place of research science - the active, answer-seeking, discovery-making kind of science.

Behind our exhibition galleries (all of which are based on this discovery-making science I just mentioned) is our Research & Collection building, a six-level construction dedicated to, you guessed it, science.

It's the kind of place that used to put fear into the heart of a proud Arts graduate like me:

My First Day
Me: "I've noticed you use a lot of facts here at the Museum and not just feelings expressed eloquently in essays."
Scientist: "Yes, it's called science."
Me: "Hmmm, tell me more about this 'science'. I'm looking for inspiration for my next poem..."

And that's why I'm going on this trip. Not to write poetry, but to do my best to promote the active science side of our Museum. To share the work being done in our Research & Collections division.

Over the next ten days, while the whale in our foyer gets all the "oohs and aahs" and Jurassic Lounge trends on social media, a large number of our scientists will be conducting a biodiversity survey of Timor-Leste, which will not only assist the Timorese with the establishment of a Protected Area Network, but also add to our understanding of fauna in that country and how it fits in with the surrounding region (including little ol' Australia).

On behalf of these intrepid scientists, and with the telecommunications gods willing, I'll be blogging daily from the field (must admit I've been dropping 'from the field' át every opportunity, annoying everyone around me). Each evening I'll attempt to upload images, (hopefully some) video and poetry - I mean reports - of science in action. From the field.

So join me online as I share the work we do and discoveries we make on the coral reefs and shores of beautiful Timor-Leste.

Tomorrow I'll post from Darwin where we gather for another briefing on the trip before flying into Dili on Monday morning. I'll introduce you to the marine team, a crew of men and women of varying backgrounds who all share a love of marine fauna and a dedication to research and collecting.

 

 

So be sure to check back on our Timor-Leste homepage (where you'll also find blog posts and photos from the terrestrial stage of the expedition) and look for our updates on Facebook and Twitter.

And for those interested in more details about the background to the expedition, Dr Frank Kohler, a member of the terrestrial team, recently gave an excellent interview.