Staff (Lizard Island)

The Lizard Island Research Station has four full-time staff: two directors and two maintenance staff. 


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

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 became the Research Station's fourth set of directors in August 1990. They were honoured in 2014 by being made Members of the Order of Australia for their service to environmental research and conservation. They are married and have a son, Alex Vail, who was four when they moved to Lizard Island. Alex is doing a PhD in marine behavioural ecology at the University of Cambridge and his research, as well as family ties, brings him back to Lizard Island occasionally.

Maintenance staff

Cassy Thompson, BSc - Accommodation and Transport Officer

Bruce Stewart - Maintenance Officer

Bruce and Cassy started at LIRS in November 2013. They came to LIRS from similar roles at the Australian Institute of Marine Science.

Former long-term maintenance staff

Tania Lamb and Bob Lamb

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 worked for six months of the year. Bob and Tania returned to full-time life on the mainland in 2012.

Marianne and Lance Pearce

Lance and Marianne started work at the Research Station in 1988 as full-time maintenance staff, then for six months per year from 1998. They retired in 2012 to their rambutan orchard near Innisfail, 90 km south of Cairns, although they travel a lot and return to LIRS periodically as relief maintenance staff.

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