The biology field trips are conducted over two days for primary school, secondary school, college and university students. All measuring equipment is supplied and the trips can be as scientific as requested. One supervisor in each group wears an Australian Standards Approved life jacket, which is also supplied. Marine studies, terrestrial coastal studies and freshwater studies are carried out over a 2-day period. The field studies are designed to meet the key criteria of the school and college biology and marine biology syllabus. The scientific content is scaled down for primary school students.
The students and supervising teachers are transferred in air conditioned coaches from their school or college in Brisbane to the study sites and accommodation on North Stradbroke Island. The coaches are ferried across to the island by Stradbroke Island Ferries.
Each student is provided with a field note book, which contains information and instructions for each of the 5 studies, with spaces for answers and labeled sketches. The booklets are assessed and graded after the biology field trip by the class teacher. Students are responsible for their own change of clothes and shoes, sunscreen, insect repellent, hat and sunglasses. There are four day time studies, each supervised by a qualified biologist, and one night time zooplankton study, which is conducted in a laboratory equipped with binocular dissecting microscopes. Two of the daytime studies are conducted at low tide. These are the rocky shore study and mangrove study. The other two daytime studies can be conducted at any time because they are not restricted by tidal height. These are the sand dune study and freshwater study.
All students and supervising teachers are first given a briefing on the dangerous marine animals that may be encountered on the trip. Those students staying at Moreton Bay Research Station (MBRS) are also given a briefing on the rules of the Station by MBRS staff.
The Mangrove Study is conducted at or close to low tide in a pristine mangrove area, which exhibits at least two species of Australian mangroves. There are at least five species of Mangroves along the East Australian Coastline and three of these occur commonly in South East Queensland. Students work in groups of 5-6 and are equipped with field trip booklets, pens, salinometers, thermometers and mangrove identification guides. Students identify the two main species of mangroves using a dichotomous key and pictures. They note the distinguishing characteristics of each mangrove type and can then identify it to genus and species. They also observe the intertidal zone where mangroves are found and discuss the distinctive features of mangroves, which enable them to grow in places where no other plants can survive. Mangroves typically are associated with a rich diversity of marine life, which the students observe and record. Plants and animals may be photographed but no specimens are removed from the area, as with the other daytime studies.