Our relationship with the environment is a central part of the human experience. Environment influences where our food and water comes from, and even what style of houses we live in. As a result, environmental changes, whether due to natural causes or human impact, present significant challenges to our everyday life. 

Coral reef Today, researchers from many different disciplines are working on the issues presented by environmental change. Some look to the past to see how other societies have dealt with problems like water shortages, while others work to develop new technologies to try and reduce our impact on the planet.

Queensland's unique environment poses it is own set of challenges. We are responsible for caring for the world’s largest reef system, the Great Barrier Reef, which reaches from the tip of Cape York to Fraser Island and is a recognised World Heritage site. On land, we have to manage environments which range from the tropics of the north to the semi-arid of the interior. Queensland Museum’s work in biodiversity - studying the plants and animals of different areas - is helping Queensland to meet these challenges.

The Museum's biodiversity researchers, working alongside palaeontologists and environmental archaeologists, are also able to give us an insight into how the Australian environment has changed over time. Together, these researchers can piece together how Queensland’s unique fauna and flora developed, how and why some species became extinct, what impact human settlement has had, and what we can do today to conserve Queensland’s natural heritage.

This information is becoming increasingly important as Queenslanders face the problems of global climate change. Together, the researchers at the Queensland Museum are looking to the past, present and future to help us all manage the state’s distinctive environment.

Queensland Museum's Find out about... is proudly supported by the Thyne Reid Foundation and the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation.