Mark Hamann

Is off to Cardwell this week to talk about partnerships between scientists and Indigenous ranger groups

Favourite Thing: My favourite thing about science is that it gives me the freedom to explore, learn, travel and teach. I don’t usually work on experiments and most of my research involves traveling and camping, catching animals in their environment and learning from them.



Dover High & Brighton High


Flinders Uni & University of Qld

Work History:

Charles Darwin University, IUCN in Vietnam, QLD Government and James Cook University


James Cook University

Current Job:

Lecturer and research scientist

Me and my work

I am a marine biologist who works with marine animals – such as turtles, dugongs, dolphins and sea snakes

I am a marine biologist working in two main areas of research. The first area is studying the biology of marine wildlife such as sea turtles myimage1myimage2myimage5. I have worked all over northern Australia and overseas studying sea turtles and using the information to help look after them myimage3. Part of my work involves being part of Australian and International panels like IUCN to improve turtle management.

The second area of research involves trying to understand and reduce the impact of plastic pollution in our oceans on animals, thousands of critters are dying each year because they swallow small fragments of plastic myimage4.

The other main parts of my work involve giving lectures to students and advising Masters and PhD research students. My students are amazing, and they look at many different aspects related to marine systems.

My Typical Day

My typical day involves meetings with students to discuss their projects, answering email and research tasks.

My working days are all very different. I generally start the day by catching up on overnight email. I do my own research myimage6 and schedule any new meetings for Mon & Tues – these include staff meetings etc. Wednesday’s are typically when I organise my lectures and practical material for Thur and Fri classes. Thursdays are spent meeting with students (6 PhD students by 1 hour each) and giving a lecture (1 hour). Similarly, on Friday I start the day with a 9am lecture and then continue with student meetings. In between all of this I also have to respond to ~ 50-100 emails per day.

This schedule works really well most of the time, but it fall apart when i travel. In a typical year I would spend around 3 weeks doing research field work – mostly in Torres Strait. Plus I spend a few weeks a year travelling for various conferences and meetings.

What I'd do with the money

I am investigating whether I can do live video chats from the Reef HQ sea turtle hospital into schools

Reef HQ is an incredible marine aquarium in Townsville, and one of few with live coral exhibits. The education staff at the aquarium do live video chats from the coral exhibits with schools all over the world. I am investigating the potential to conduct live video chats from the turtle hospital sections specifically on marine turtles. This has not bee done before and I think it would be awesome. Stay tuned and hopefully it can work

My plan B is to investigate doing live video from a sea turtle research site, or school visits.

My Interview

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

Energetic, blue-minded, parent

Who is your favourite singer or band?

Hard to pick a favourite, I just bought Busby Marou’s new album – great stuff

What is the most fun thing you've done?

Recently – trying to teach my daughters to surf. Living & working in Vietnam was also loads of fun

If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!

1. that my children get to explore the wonder of our natural world as we have known it 2. that we get so good at protecting our natural world that we dont need conservation and 3. that there becomes a global standard for chargers on electronic devices (or we can charge devices wirelessly)

What did you want to be after you left school?

I changed my mind many times, from carpenter to surfer, to baker, back to carpenter then park ranger and finally researcher

Were you ever in trouble in at school?

mmm often, mostly for talking and mostly in biology & english

What's the best thing you've done as a scientist?

Travel the length & width of the Great Barrier Reef looking for turtles and also looking for turtles along entire Vietnam coast line

Tell us a joke.

Sports followed

AFL, surfing

Favourite team

Port Adelaide