Lectures
Damon Ramsey

The following is a list of lectures I have given. A suggested title is in "quotation marks"; this is usually light in tone and changes depending on the context of area, company and audience. (The actual technical subject is then stated in the brackets, unless it is obvious and covered in the title). This is followed by a description of the lecture for newsletters and itineraries. 

general geography, history, and destination lectures

(the talks on moden day culture are generally light-hearted talks very briefly covering geography and history, and then focusing on some of the more interesting and quirkier aspects of modern day culture. They are then sometimes split into separate lectures, such as the "Nature of...", "History of..." and "Modern day culture of...".)

"An introduction to Australia - nature and wildlife" . (old talk, out of date now)

"an introduction to Australia - modern day culture". Culture? in Australia? Must be a short lecture. By Damon Ramsey.

"As old as the hills: the geology of tropical Australia" with Damon Ramsey. This talk delves into real history, the history of the land itself. Northern Australia includes some of the oldest exposed rock in the world. The oldest is 1.7 billion years old, and therefore older than most life as we know it.

"The prehistory of tropical Australia' by biologist Damon Ramsey. Join us for a journey back through real history, deep history, and the life of the planet. Some of the oldest rocks in Australia contain hints of cyanobacteria, and gives us hints to how the atmosphere changed with the appearance of life. Hear about Australia's little known dinosaurs. Learn about the spectacular giant mammals, such as giant kangaroos, the once inhabitated the plains and made the country resemble a marsupial version of Africa.  

"The history of Australian Aboriginals through their rock art" with Damon Ramsey. This talk covers some of the different styles of the rock art, the tools used, and the dating techniques used to figure out the ages of the art.

"The maritime history of northern Australia" by Damon Ramsey. This epic talk follows the explorers of the tropical coast of Australia. We start with the first arrivals from Asia, then follow the famous and infamous, including Dampier, Cook, Bligh, Flinders, Baudin, and King. We end with us, and the ecoutourism explorers of today.

“Australian wildlife tourism” /  “Wildlife and tourists”. (Old lectuies from my ecotourism course at JCU. They probably look pretty clunky now)

“Coping with crocodiles, colossal tides and no coconuts; Introducing the Kimberley”; Biologist Damon Ramsey introduces the quirky country of the Kimberley.

 “How to survive crocodiles, cyclones and a lack of women: An introduction to Darwin". Damon has lived in Darwin twice and has survived to tell the tale. Come and find out what makes Darwin tick and some things you might like to do when you hit the town. 

“An Introduction to Broome, the little town at the end of Australia”  If you would like to learn how to find or avoid camels, pearls and dinosaurs, come join Damon for this mostly true talk.

"Coping with crocodiles, colossal tides and no coconuts; an introduction to the Kimberley". Biologist Damon Ramsey guides us through the quirky country of the Kimberley.

'The culture of New Zealand', by Damon Ramsey. This is obviously a short lecture. And funny. It covers drinking, smoking, religion, politics, sex and movies.

 “The biggest small country in the world" with Damon Ramsey. This talk looks at the general geography of New Zealand's mainland and islands, including some history and sights of the ports visited.

"The violent volcanic history of New Zealand". Join Damon Ramsey as he explores the igneous geology of New Zealand, focusing on the range of volcanoes, from long extinct to intermittently dormant to currently rumbling and active.

"A revolution in evolution" or "Evolution and conservation in isolation" - An introduction to the nature of New Zealand by biologist Damon Ramsey. This talks covers the evolutionary biology of New Zealand, including the 'great drowning', extinct animals, weird and endemic plants, reptiles and birds, and right up to the modern day 'double-whammy' human invasions and conservation. 

“Silent forests”. Biologist Damon Ramsey looks at the unique rainforests of New Zealand. He introduces both the subtropical rainforest and the cool temperate rainforest, and compares its features to the rainforest of Australia, the Pacific, Asia, and other parts of the world.

"Lonely little rock: an Introduction to Norfolk Island". By biologist Damon Ramsey. From uplift to politics.

"The weirdest islands: an Introduction to New Caledonia". Join biologist Damon Ramsey as he explores this small outer part of Zealandia, with it's many unique plants and animals.

"Solomon Islands: an Introduction". Join biologist Damon Ramsey as he explores the islands rich in biology, history and anthropology.

"An Introduction to New Guinea; the island split in two". On this expedition we get the unique opportunity to travel between the independent nation of PNG (Papua New Guinea) and then over to the provinces of Indonesian New Guinea. Learn about the similarities - and important differences - from biologist Damon Ramsey.  

"An introduction to Papua New Guinea" by biologist Damon Ramsey. The prehistory. The violence. The independence.

"An introduction to Melanesia", by biologist Damon Ramsey. A whirlwind look at the incredible diversity of countries of Melanesia. 

“An Introduction to the nature of Indonesia” by biologist Damon Ramsey.  An archipelago split between two natures. Indonesia is one of the most geologically violent and biologically diverse countries on Earth. Be blown away by her exciting volcanoes. And learn how she straddles two very different biogeographic zones, and thus includes both kangaroo and monkeys in the one country.

“Explaining Indonesia: An Introduction to the history of Indonesia”.  An epic lecture that begins with the peopling of the south-east Asian islands. Damon Ramsey takes us through the formation of this archipelago of archipelagos into this fascinating and frustrating country called Indonesia.

“An Introduction to the culture of Indonesia; or how to not look like a complete idiot in this country".  A fun talk that looks at modern day life in Indonesia, including some do's and don'ts.

 “Alfred Russel Wallace; his life, his line and his world” by Damon Ramsey.  As we travel from the Australian region into the tropical Asian region, we go from one biogeographical region into another, and spend some time in the transition zone of Wallacea. Learn about the life and lessons of the man that gave his name to the region.

‘East Timor: A little introduction to a little country’. Before our visit, learn about the little known island of Timor, with a focus on East Timor, one of the newest countries in the world. Damon Ramsey will explore the sequence and context of the string of shocking and violent events that led to the formation of the first country of the millennium.

"An introduction to Singapore", by biologist Damon Ramsey. A look at the only city island state in the world. The garden city. The 'red dot'. The Asian metropolis that did good. Just con't break any rules.

"It's always more fun in the Philippines; An introduction the Philippines". Join Damon Ramsey for an exploration of this volcanically active, biologically diverse nation, where most of our crew come from.

“Tiny islands in a huge ocean; and introduction to Palau and Micronesia. Join Damon Ramsey as we sweep through a bit of everything, from the geography to ‘hobbit’ humans, to introduced extinction-causing snakes, to flying fox soup.

“Birds of Micronesia". Join biologist Damon Ramsey as we stalk the islands of Micronesia hoping to see the rare and often pretty birds of the tropical islands of Micronesia. Included are a few bird-watching tips. And some bad bird jokes. 

"The geology of Japan" - including their beautiful volcanoes, original tsunamis, and devastating earthquakes.

"The nature of Japan" Biologist Damon Ramsey overviews some of the more common plants birds and mammals of Japan.

“The making of modern Japan: from disaster to cuteness”. Join Damon Ramsey for a fun introduction to Japan’s modern culture and history, from atomic bombs to robots and vending machines.

"James Bond in Japan and other popular culture in Japan". Present day culture goes back and forth between nations. Learn about the influences of Japanese cinema on Star Wars. Re-visit the first time the most popular western hero visited Japan in 1967, and Sean Connery was photographed on the toilet.

“An Introduction to the region of Polynesia; the triangle of extinction”. Join Damon Ramsey as he introduces the largest and latest spread of humans on the planet, Polynesia, including enigmatic Easter Island, the Hawaiian hotspots, friendly Fiji, titillating Tahiti, and nippy New Zealand.

“An Introduction to French Polynesia; from nuclear tests to the third gender”. Join Damon Ramsey as he introduces the beautiful islands that make up the famous (and infamous) French Polynesia.

"An Introduction to the Cook Islands".  Join Damon and learn how to find beautiful Pacific island girls and how to avoid large footy players (or the other way around if you wish).

"An Introduction to the leftovers of Polynesia".  Join Damon as he introduces some of the smaller islands that we are going to, including the tiny single island nation of Niue and the remote and rugged islands of Tonga.

"An Introduction to Fiji; from kava to cannibals".  Join Damon as he explores the quirky bits of Fiji, the island group where Melanesia meets Polynesia.

"The geology of Polynesia; the violent making of a peaceful paradise". Join Damon Ramsey as he explores the geology of these remote tropical Pacific islands. The islands include the full development and every stage of volcanic island and atoll development, from sea mounts, to emerging volcanoes, to subsiding islands, to ring atoll.

"An introduction to Chile". From well behaved stray dogs to cafe con piernas.

 Tourism, birdwatching, photography & astronomy.

“Australian wildlife tourism” /  “Wildlife and tourists”. (Old lectures from my ecotourism course at JCU. They probably look pretty clunky now)

“Looking for boobies, staring at Tits and trying to find a Shag; The bizarre world of birdwatchers". Learn from Damon Ramsey why birdwatchers hide in the bushes kissing themselves. Find out what a SOB is. And test whether you are a twitcher. A fun talk about the different types of birds and how to watch them.

“Photograph wildlife or die trying". Damon Ramsey gives a lesson in some camera basics, including composition, photoshopping, and other tricks.

"An introduction to the starry night of the southern hemisphere". Join Damon Ramsey for a journey though the current night sky. He will explore the constellations that are visible now, and reveal how different cultures interpret different constellations. Depending on the night, you might even find out where Superman came from or where Captain Picard fought with the Borg against the federation !

"An introduction to the tropical night sky"

(these can be given instead of, or in conjunction with, talks outside and under the stars. The astronomy subjects change depending on where on the planet one is, and what time of the year it is)

Southern oceans and shores

"Why is the sea salty? and other questions about the ocean....”. (continents, oceans & seas, water chemistry, light, salt)

“Why is it so bloody windy?” The crazy climate and wild weather of the roaring forties, the furious fifties and the screaming sixties.

 “Why is it so bloody bumpy?” Find out all about the most annoying enemy of the traveller in the southern ocean; the waves!

 “Small critters of the southern ocean”. Join Damon Ramsey as he delves into the lesser known creatures of the southern ocean, from Krill to ice fish (not completed).

 “Flights over the shivering seas”. Come with biologist Damon Ramsey as he stares at the sky for albatross and their tube-nosed relatives.

 “It's so cute, it's almost a mammal”. Join  Damon Ramsey as he explores the biology of the remarkably diverse penguins.

“Leviathans of the southern seas”. Join biologist Damon Ramsey as he explores the biology and different species of whales and dolphins of the Southern Ocean.

“Fat slappers of the southern seas”. Join biologist Damon Ramsey as he explores the biology and different species of seals of the Southern Ocean and her shores.

the tropical seas  (anywhere in the tropics)

“Why is the sea blue? and other questions about the ocean....” by biologist Damon Ramsey. (Continents, defining oceans & seas, water chemistry, light in and above the water, salinity). Get back to the basic questions that kids ask about the very nature of nature.

“From squalls to cyclones” by biologist Damon Ramsey. (Climate, weather, cyclones). Some of the wildest and highest winds on the planet are right here in the tropical ocean. Be blown away by facts and figures on the world’s worst sea borne storms and cyclones.

“Why is it so sloppy?" (or "Why is it so smooth?" if we have good weather!). The enemy of comfortable life at sea is movement. Damon Ramsey will help you learn all about the what’s, where’s and why’s of waves. 

“Small critters of the open tropical seas” by biologist Damon Ramsey. Life is pretty sparse across the open tropical oceans. Learn about the smaller plants and animals that make a living in this pretty but harsh habitat, from plankton, through the flying fish, to sea snakes and marine turtles.

“Salty slappers of the seas”. Biologist Damon Ramsey guides you through the different species and biology of some of the whales and dolphins we have seen, or may see, on our journey through the tropical oceans.

coral reefs (anywhere in the tropics)

“What Coral Reef Critter is that?” by Damon Ramsey. This talk goes through the amazing range of invertebrates found on the coral reefs of the world. There is a bizarre range of different body types, from simple sedentary sponges, to complex colonies of colourful corals, to sliding five-armed sea stars.

“What coral reef fish is that?”. Biologist Damon Ramsey shows the main groups of fish encountered on the tropical coral reefs of the world. By looking at the distinctive features of each of the dominant groups, identification of the thousands of species is made much easier.

“Sex and violence underwater” by Damon Ramsey. This fun talk looks at some of the varied and strange physiology and behaviours of coral reef fish, from false eyes to sex changes. Special guest star is Roger Moore as James Bond.

tropical seashores (anywhere in the tropics, lectures modified for local regions)

 “The making of the tropical coast”, by Damon Ramsey. The gentle shores of the tropics seem like a peaceful paradise. But in many cases they have a violent background, with exploding underwater volcanoes and lava flows in their history, and for some, their future…   

 “The shaping of the tropical coast” by Damon Ramsey. Learn about the mighty and not-so-mighty natural forces that have shaped the tropical coasts, from wind to waves to tsunamis.

 “From clouds to cyclones; weather along the tropical shore” by Damon Ramsey. Go on a journey exploring the climate of the coast. Start at the pretty and peaceful, the types of clouds. End at the wet and wild, with the cyclones.

“What a lovely pair of coconuts”. The plants that grow along the tropical seashores are mainly spread by the currents of the world ocean and the result is one of the most widespread ecosystems on the planet. Join biologist Damon Ramsey as he explores the plants and ecology of the tropical seashores of the Indo-Pacific.

“She sells seashells by the seashore” by biologist Damon Ramsey. There is range of weird and wonderful creatures living in the intertidal zone along the tropical coasts, including crustaceans, starfish and sea cucumbers. But of course among the most famous of these are merely the remains of long since dead molluscs, the beautiful and intricate seashells.

“Creatures of the coast”. Join biologist Damon Ramsey as he takes us along the tropical seashore and points out walking fish, pregnant turtles and snapping crocodiles.

“Sex and violence on the beach”. Join biologist Damon Ramsey as he shows us the tropical sea and shore birds, and explains their often bizarre lives. Indulge in some kleptoparasitic behaviour when you make other birds throw up their catch so you can eat it. Kill your younger brother or sister through siblicide so you can survive. Fun for the whole family.

 “Cannibals, Sailors and sightseers”. Humans of the tropical seashore of Pacific Islands.

southern temperate seashores  (southern South America, Southern Africa, Australia, New Zealand)

 “The making of the southern temperate seashore”. A look at the beautiful formations and how they are made along the high energy and dynamic coasts of the southern temperate coasts of southern South America, New Zealand and Australia.

Climate of the NZ and southern Australian shores. The wild wind and waves of the southern temperate coasts of the world. 

 “Critters of the southern temperate seashore”. Join biologist Damon Ramsey as he crawls along tthe coast to collect crabs, sea stars, and other critters. 

 “Birds of the southern temperate shores”. From gannets to penguins. 

 “Seals and other slappers of the southern temperate seashore”. Seal biology and species, and human evolution and influences of seashore.

northern temperate oceans (so far mainly for U.K. and Japan/Asia)

(in construction)  “Critters of the northern temperate oceans”. From giant squid to basking sharks. 

 “Birds of the northern temperate oceans and seashores”. From puffins to gulls to those strange northern albatross. 

tropical rainforest of Australasia
(Australia, New Guinea, & other Melanesian islands of south west Pacific)

 “The Dark Jungle”. Listen to biologist Damon Ramsey as he explains the physical environment and evolution of the tropical rainforest of Australasia and Melanesia.

 “How the rainforest works”. Join biologist Damon Ramsey as he unravels the ecology of the tropical rainforest of Australasia and Melanesia.

 “Plants of the tropical rainforest of Australia/New Guinea”. Join Damon Ramsey as he trips over giant rainforest tree roots and gets caught up in wait-a-while in the Australasian jungle.

 “Creepy crawlies of the jungle”. Join Damon Ramsey as he pokes about in the steamy rainforest slapping mosquitoes and catching butterflies.

 “Croakers and Hissers of the jungle”. Join Damon Ramsey as he shows you how to catch frogs and what snakes to avoid in this rainforest.

 “Colours in the dark”. Biologist Damon Ramsey shows you some of the prettiest birds in the world, the avian fauna of the Australasian/Melanesian Jungle.

 “Furry creatures of the night”. Mammals of the tropical rainforest of Australia and New Guinea (this lecture is not so good for the other islands of Melanesia). 

savanna woodlands and wetlands of northern Australia (KImberley, Northern territory, Cape York)

"Bush Tucker" (Flowers and fruits of the bush)

"Buzzers of the bush" by biologist Damon Ramsey. The diversity of spiders, insects and other inverts of the northern savanna woodlands. 

"Hoppers and Hissers of the bush" by biologist Damon Ramsey. The frogs and reptiles of the tropical savanna woodlands of northern Australasia)

"A bird in the bush" by Damon Ramsey. The beautiful birds of the savanna woodlands of northern Australasia)

“Furry and cuddly critters of the bush” by Damon Ramsey. The Mammals of the savanna of northern Australia)

Rainforest and Woodlands of Wallacea (Central Indonesia, including Lesser Sundas, Sulawesi and Moluccas).

“Plants of Wallacea". Biologist Damon Ramsey hunts for rare plants where east meets west, in the centre of Indonesia, an area known as Wallacea.

“Jewels of the Wallacean jungle”. Join biologist Damon Ramsey as he lurks through the rainforest and woodlands of Wallacea for stunning snails, dazzling dragonflies and beautiful butterflies.

“Crawling and sliding through the Wallacea”. Join biologist Damon Ramsey as he slithers through the rainforest and woodlands of Wallacea for endemic reptiles.

“Feathered endemics”. One out of every three birds we might see in Sulawesi and Wallacea are endemic to the region. Find out more from biologist Damon Ramsey.

“The strange and endemic Mammals of Wallacea". Biologist Damon Ramsey talk about the mix of marsupial and placental mammals in Sulawesi and central Indonesia.

Rainforest of Tropical Asia (India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Borneo, west Indonesia)

“The making of the Dark Jungle” by biologist Damon Ramsey. Explore the evolution and ecology of the tropical rainforest of Asia.

“Colourful critters of the Asian jungle”. Join biologist Damon Ramsey as he hunts through the rainforest of south-east Asia for invertebrates, from giant spiders to stunning butterflies.

“Hoppers and slitherers of the jungle”. One of the most feared groups of animals in  Asia are the snakes and their relatives. Yet many species of snakes, skinks and dragons are stunning. Both ‘reptiles’ and amphibians are hard to find, so come and learn all about these rarely seen critters photographed by biologist Damon Ramsey.

“Colours in the jungle”. Birds are difficult to see in the rainforest of south-east Asia, but it is worth the effort to try and find them. This talk by biologist Damon Ramsey covers the main groups and many species that call the Oriental jungle home.

 “What poo is that? Mammals of the tropical Asian jungle”. Mammals can be hard to spot in the Asian rainforest. Come along to this talk and see and hear about some of many small and rare mammals photographed by biologist Damon Ramsey in the Asian rainforest at night. Even large mammals are hard to find in the south-east Asian rainforest. But their scat and spoor can give clues to what they are, who they ate, and where they are.

“Monkeying around in the jungle”. Primates fascinate and scare us, due to the ‘uncanny valley’ effect. They are not humans, but they kind of look and act like us. This talk by Damon Ramsey covers some of the primates we have seen, and may see, on this expedition, and their fascinating behaviour

Neotropical rainforest (South and Central America)

(slideshow images only) "Cerrado and wetlands of Central and South America" by biologist Damon Ramsey

(slideshow images only) "Tropical Rainforest of Central and South America" by biologist Damon Ramsey.

Tropical Farms and Gardens (pantropical)

“People and Flowers of the tropical gardens” "Sex in the tropical gardens". When people think of the tropics they think of flowers. This misconception is due to thousands of years of picking and developing flowers from throughout the tropics of the world, and into our gardens. So join biologist Damon Ramsey as he explores the sights and smells of the sex organs of tropical plants in our tropical gardens.

“People and Fruits of the tropical gardens” by biologist Damon Ramsey. Let’s explore and taste our way through the world of tropical fruits, from the fruits you know, such as mango, to the fruits you think you know, such as coconuts and bananas, to the fruits you may not have even heard of...

“People and plant parts of the tropical gardens” by biologist Damon Ramsey. We all know about people using flowers and fruits of tropical plants, but there are many other parts of plans that are used. There is the trunk, the bark, the leaves, the roots and the tubers. We can use these bits for shade, to eat, for flavour, and to smoke!

(in construction) “From cock fights to pussy cat tails” by biologist Damon Ramsey. In many tropical countries around the world, humans still interact and rely on animals very closely. They use them for food, religious sacrifice, pest control, money making, and of course companionship. And find out what is the better animal; the dopey dog or the cute cat.

Temperate Farms and Gardens (the northern and southern temperate parts of the world, including Europe and the U.K., China and Japan, southern Australia, New Zealand).

“Invaders from another world!". The everyday garden plants have a fascinating history. Join biologist Damon Ramsey as he explores the sights and smells of the plants we can't do without. The talk includes wine vines, and the Kiwi fruit.