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A ruby-red ship in a spinifex sea, Batton Hill was expedition headquarters for 12 days. From here, scientists and volunteers sallied forth into the Simpson Desert.
Rippling dunes, rugged breakaways, gibber plains, swamps and riverbeds – the sum of the northern Simpson’s many parts revealed themselves to be far greater than the whole.
The discoveries were as intimate as the landscape was infinite. This many-lined Ctenotus was the first confirmed record in the NT.
Ben Zeng studied soil and vegetation damage caused by feral camels for the Department of Natural Resources, Environment and the Arts (DNREA), NT.
Penelope Greenslade of the Australian National University, Canberra, amassed invertebrates using many methods, such as drying soil in funnels over alcohol.
Mike Augee (at right, with volunteer Jim McNeill), fellow of the Royal Zoological Society, Sydney, assessed the echidna population and searched for fossils.
Josephine Milne and Helen Jolley (pictured from left with volunteers Lois Sheppard and Pam Anstee) and Karen Beckmann (not pictured) of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne, studied lichens, liverworts and mosses.
Steve Wilson, herpetologist and human hurricane from Queensland Museum, dug pit traps and took snaps of skinks, lizards and other reptiles.
David ‘Batman’ Gee of Wildtraces Environmental Monitoring, NSW, used harp nets (pictured) to trap individual bats and bat detectors to record calls.
Ephemeral beauty. Even as the last of January’s rains evaporated from Ngarra Ngarra Swamp, expeditioners revelled in its rich biodiversity.
Forget science, this is good tucker. Property owner Lindsay Bookie licks his lips over an inland bearded dragon.
Masters of aridity. Pygmy mulga monitors stick close to tree hollows to escape the heat.
Stripe-faced dunnarts burrow underground. Dunnarts can also slow their metabolism to save energy and water.
On the trail. Society administrator Sandy Richardson (at right) and volunteer Keith Sheppard examine the burrowings of one of the few echidnas not in hibernation.
Rise and shine. After an alfresco breakfast of camp-fired toast and coffee at Ngarra Ngarra Swamp, expeditioners gear up for a day of discovery.
Home Travel Destinations Gallery: The Simpson Desert
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