Research

  • 13 Oct 2016

    Conservation

    Textile conservation at the WA Museum Image copyright WA Museum 

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    Article
    Western Australian Museum

  • Extent of the Indian Ocean

    12 Jul 2016

    The Leeuwin Effect – when the Indian Ocean houses Pacific taxa

    Earlier this year, we published a paper that highlighted a number of information gaps in Indo-Pacific phylogeographic studies (Putting the ‘Indo’ back into the Indo-Pacific: resolving marine phylogeographic gaps- Invert. Syst. 30:867-94). One of the things we discussed was the unusual phenomenon of typically Pacific taxa occurring in the north west of Western Australia (WA) – in the Indian Ocean!

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    Blog entry
    Molecular Systematics Unit

  • Image of arachnid

    16 Jun 2016

    New subterranean arachnid described from the Pilbara

    The arid zone of Western Australia is a harsh landscape that harbours a surprisingly rich native fauna. To cope with the heat and lack of water, species have adapted in many ways. Perhaps the most extreme method for enduring in this landscape is the colonisation of the subterranean environment. In the caves and interstitial spaces under the surface of the Pilbara, exists a thriving invertebrate fauna, which even includes the enigmatic blind cave eel, Ophisternon sp.

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    Blog entry
    Joel Huey

  • Image of Pseudoscorpion

    16 Jun 2016

    Western Australian Museum scientists describe new species of arachnid from Barrow Island, Western Australia.

    Barrow Island is a Class A nature reserve, located approximately 56 km from the mainland of Western Australia. The island shares a geographical affinity with the Pilbara bioregion, with a recent historical connection to the mainland and Cape Range during lower sea levels approximately 8,000 years ago. Despite this recent connection (at least in evolutionary terms), the island harbours many endemic vertebrate species and subspecies (e.g. Barrow Island Euro, Barrow Island Boodie, Barrow Island Black-and-White Fairy Wren).

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    Blog entry
    Joel Huey

  • Spider

    18 Jan 2016

    The role of DNA in species discovery

    To the surprise of some, most of the earth’s biodiversity remains undiscovered and undescribed. In 2011, Camilo Mora and colleagues calculated there are approximately 8.7 million eukaryotic species on earth (eukaryotes are those organisms that we normally think of, like plants, animals and fungi), and of these, 85% remain undescribed and/or unknown to science.

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    Blog entry
    Molecular Systematics Unit

  • Picture of Myzostome parasite, from crinoid host.

    22 Jun 2015

    Parasites are fun!

    Although most people will cringe when they think of having parasites inside them but as a biologist, I am fascinated by these tiny (and not so tiny) hangers-on. On our recent trip to the Montebello Islands, we came across some amazing animals.

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    Blog entry
    Nerida Wilson

  • Scientists processing specimens on back of boat

    17 Jun 2015

    Always take the weather with you

    This would have been good advice for the marine field trip we organised in April this year, to collect specimens for our Pilbara Conservation Systematics project. Initially we thought we'd managed to dodge the bad stuff. Our trip started only weeks after Ex-Tropical Cyclone Olwyn went through Exmouth as a Category 3, the starting point for our expedition. But only a few days into our two-week trip, an unseasonal patch of weather had us hiding at anchor at the Montebello Islands. 

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    Blog entry
    Nerida Wilson

  • a tiny brown mammal eats a moth on red stony soil

    6 May 2015

    Exciting postgraduate research projects studying the genetic diversity of Pilbara fauna

    The Western Australian Museum Molecular Systematics Unit is supporting the research of four PhD students, who are supervised by Research Scientists Dr Joel Huey and Dr Nerida Wilson, and funded through the Net Conservation Benefits fund. Each student and their research project will be introduced in these blog entries and we will provide exciting updates as their research progresses. To start, here is my blog.

    Linette Umbrello - PhD student at the University of Western Australia

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    Blog entry
    Lintette Umbrello

  • Male Mygalamorph spider of the genus Aname

    5 Nov 2014

    DNA Barcoding

    Traditionally, identifying which species a specimen belonged to required observing its morphological features, and referring to species descriptions and “keys”. However, this method is limited in some circumstances. What if only a feather of a bird was available, like the recent rediscovery of the Night Parrot? Or, for many spiders, only adult males have diagnostic features, so females and juveniles cannot be identified.

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    Blog entry
    Molecular Systematics Unit

  • 31 Jul 2014

    Biodiversity comes in all shapes and sizes

    When you think of a biodiversity survey, you might imagine a group of scientists going off to remote places, climbing mountains, scaling cliffs, or diving to deep coral reefs.  You may imagine a checklist that contains sighting of large mammals and birds, or of rare lizards and frogs…

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    Blog entry
    Molecular Systematics Unit

  • A model of the DNA double helix

    24 Jun 2014

    Welcome to the Western Australian Museum’s Molecular Systematics Unit Blog

    At the Western Australian Museum (WAM) we work hard to collect, describe and understand Western Australia’s rich natural heritage, and to understand its place in the world. In the collections facility based at Welshpool, we are amassing animal specimens from across the state, country and planet, from scorpions to cockatoos, and snails to whales. We collect these specimens so that we can answer basic questions about the natural world, such as:

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    Blog entry
    Molecular Systematics Unit