The natural world holds an infinite number of secrets — secrets which could potentially revolutionise human and animal health. The breakthrough drugs of tomorrow may lie in the venom of animals currently feared, or undiscovered, by humankind. We’re on a mission to learn more about those that can be found right here in the CRATER.
One such secret is coming into the light (well, UV light anyway) at CRATER, where a team of scientists from the University of Queensland’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB) visited and explored the astonishing biodiversity of our ancient volcanic landscape. We also invited Clearshot Media along to do a little documentary on the results of the collaboration, the first in a series highlighting the Goondicum crater’s diversity.
What were the scientists looking for? Spiders, snakes, scorpions. Anything venomous. For the team, led by Professor Glenn King, are in the business of turning venoms into medicines.
As Professor King explained, “Our goal is to understand venomous animals: how they produce their venoms, what’s in their venoms,and how we can use what’s in their venoms to create environmentally friendly insecticides, anti-parasitic drugs, and drugs that will be able to treat a range of human diseases.”
One animal they observed in surprising numbers was the Australian scorpion, with the Institute for Molecular Bioscience team observing that they had never before seen such concentrations of the insect as here at Goondicum. An animal unfairly feared to be deadly, but in truth quite shy and with a bite only ‘like a bad green ant’. What makes this scorpion truly astonishing from a scientific perspective however, is that it glows in the dark — but only under UV light. Why? How?
Well, to find out, you’ll have to watch the documentary, where Professor King and his team explain the potential of creatures like the Australian scorpion to the future of medicine, as well as the stunning importance of places like Goondicum to preserve Queensland’s biodiversity (and its potential medical miracles).
Here at Goondicum, we consider the crater to be a living lab — a place where nature and its creatures are flourish under the ethos of regenerative agriculture. Which is why it means so much when scientists come out of their labs and into our ‘lab’, allowing us to learn from each other — and hopefully, educate others along the way.
What other scientific marvels are hiding in plain sight at Goondicum? Well, you’ll have to wait and see for our next documentary. Or, of course, you can come visit yourself — Goondicum has an open door policy for scientists, students, and naturalists of all kinds.