Saving the Great Barrier Reef with Steven Robbins

Marine biologist, Steven Robbins, joins Your shout to talk about his work saving one of Australia’s amazing natural wonders.

Listen to his story below.


Originally from the US, Marine Biologist Steven Robbins has always been interested in the natural world, but never thought his passion would take him halfway across the globe to Queensland.

“I didn’t actually intend to come here necessarily, but when I was looking at graduate schools I asked Gene Tyson – who I later found out is a Queenslander but did his PhD and post-doctorate in the US – if he had a spot in his US lab,” Steven said.

“I ended up coming to work with him in his new Queensland lab and I think now I’m here to stay.”

Since moving to Australia, Steven has fallen in love with Queensland and its beautiful scenery.

“The reef is just amazing in so many ways and, even Brisbane specifically, is a really nice place to be,” he said.

“On a weekend you can go to the beach, you can go to the rainforest, you can rock climb – you can’t do that stuff in Ohio so in a lot of ways Queensland is actually uniquely a really great place to be.”

The Great Barrier Reef is considered one of the seven wonders of the natural world, but Steven said its outlook for the future is not good. 

“The Great Barrier Reef is massive – it’s the biggest reef in the world and they’re often compared to the Amazon rainforest because they’ve got such high biodiversity, so the density of different species in a reef is just immense,” he said.

“But from 2016 to 2017, we had these el Niño years meaning higher than average temperatures and about half of the reef died off.”

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