How much can a researcher bear?
A great story in the Rockhampton and Fitzroy News and photo
The Morning Bulletin Wed 26th Nov 2008

By Jenny Lightfoot

THEY managed to get lost, one fell and scraped a knee, and jellyfish prevented them swimming, but French students Melanie Laforet and Melusine Herschtal revelled in their trip to St Bee's Island.

They were participating in a two week research expedition on St Bee's Island, off Mackay with CQUniversity's Dr Alistair Melzer, scientists from Brisbane and America and a group of research volunteers.

The French visitors helped with koala monitoring, tracking and catching duties and will write a report to gain study credits.

"We did plenty of walking, often up steep hills in the hot sun, but there was time to go socialising and relaxing too," Melanie said.

They explained that, on separate occassions, they were each with groups of volunteers who managed to get lost on the Island for several hours.

Luckily they had GPS, compass and radio equipment to help them find the home base after a while.

The pair, who are at the French equivalent of a Master's level, are being hosted by CQUniversity's Centre for Environmental Management in Rockhampton over the Australian spring/summer period.

Koala Monitoring: French students Melanie Laforet and Melusine Herschtal survived their trip to St Bee's Island relatively unscathed

They are completing a research internship for their programs at ENSAR, I'Ecole Nationale Supirieure Agronomique de Rennes (the National higher Agronomic School at Rennes)

Melanie, from Paris, said she would be choosing a specialty soon and was tending towards chemistry in relation to plants suitable as medicines.

Melusine, from Lille in northern France, said she was considering a specialty involving animal behavior and related statistics.