Celebrating 12 months of the Brisbane Koala Science Institute
We cannot believe it has almost been a year since the Brisbane Koala Science Institute (affectionately known as BeKSI), first opened its doors. It’s been a big year for research, so here are some of our highlights from the last 12 months.
We'd also like to take this time to thank Brisbane City Council, for their tremendous help throughout the building of the Institute and our first year of operation.
Koala Research Highlights
The Chlamydial disease research work conducted by Dr Amy Robbins has already presented some very significant findings, and some promising discoveries have been made about Koala Retrovirus (KoRV) via the work carried out in partnership with Professor Peter Timms. These findings have lent themselves to a new project with our very own Head of Koalas and Head Veterinarian, to look at the connections between KoRV and koala genetics.
Lead researchers are also working on developing a vaccine against KoRV as one possible means to control it. A new trial has just commenced with our koala population at Lone Pine and results are expected to be available around the end of 2019.
We are also very excited about Dr Grant Hamilton’s research project, which will use drone technology to detect wild koalas. The technique will involve an algorithm which will locate koalas by detecting their heat signatures, even through a thick bush canopy. So far, the technology is achieving an average accuracy of 86%, which is much higher than traditional methods of koala spotting. Lone Pine’s not-for-profit, the Research for Nature Foundation, will be helping fund this worthwhile project. You can read more about Grant's work here.
Our Koala Biobanks, two 1500-litre, -80 degree Celcius freezers, are rapidly nearing the acceptance of their first deposits. This is a very exciting milestone for the research and science community, as we aim to preserve invaluable koala genetics for potentially generations to come.
Pictured: Dr Grant Hamilton presenting at Brisbane TedX talk.