Brone Lobichusky '14 Trades Classroom for Australian Rainforest

Standard Speaker (Pa.): Into the wild: Local girl does research in rainforest

Brone Lobichusky ['14] shared a shower stall with a huntsman spider as big as her hand.

And she routinely took the long way back to her cabin just to avoid a taipan, the most poisonous snake in the world.

And leeches? She plucked them from her skin after almost every walk through the Australian rainforest.

Lobichusky, a Barnesville native and 2010 graduate of MMI Preparatory School in Freeland, recently spent four months in a tropical rainforest in the Atherton Tablelands of northern Queensland, Australia, where she fulfilled select science requirements as a biology/pre-med major at Swarthmore College in Swarthmore, Delaware County. Her overseas studies were part of an academically rigorous program offered by Boston University in conjunction with the School for Field Studies.

While in Australia, she was part of a five-year research plan that focused on understanding the ecological components and processes of rainforests and factors that impact the environment; rainforest regeneration and restoration; and understanding the ecological and socio-economic values associated with rainforest restoration.

Lobichusky said Australian rainforests have the world's most diverse assemblage of primitive plant species, animal life and birds. She encountered nearly extinct cassowaries, which are giant, flightless birds that are the closest living relatives of dinosaurs.  ....

Brone Lobichusky '14 is a biology and pre-med double major from Barnesville, Pa., and member of the women's volleyball team.