Lizard Island - Staff

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

Lyle Vail with Sammy the turtle

Lyle Vail with Sammy the turtle
Photographer: Anne Hoggett © Australian Museum


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

Marianne Dwyer - Accommodation and Transport Officer

John Williamson - Maintenance Officer


John and Marianne started at LIRS in March 2015. 


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