30 Aug 2019
The Purple-Loving Barnacle
12 Apr 2019
By Jane Fromont
The enigmatic body shape of a tropical whip sponge collected in Western Australia has resulted in the creation of a new family and genus of sponges.
The species was first described from Indonesia as Dendrilla lacunosa by Hentschel in 1912 and 100 years later found in abundance in the Pilbara and Kimberley regions of Western Australia during fieldwork funded by the Western Australian Marine Science Institution (WAMSI). This is where the puzzle begins.
13 Mar 2019
A team of researchers led by the Western Australian Museum and the Natural History Museum in London has discovered a new species of very small, incredibly fast extinct Australian Pig-footed Bandicoot.
Dr Kenny Travouillon, Curator of Mammalogy at the WA Museum, said the discovery of Chaeropus yirratji is a breakthrough for science as little was known about the mammal previously.
29 Oct 2018
A team of scientists from the Western Australian Museum and universities in Australia and Japan has discovered a new species of coral in waters off the coast of north western WA, offering insight into which coral species are adapting in areas where climate change has had a severe impact.
10 Aug 2018
When people think of barnacles they normally picture a small, conical shell clinging to rocks at low tide or to ships’ hulls and normally thought of as being a nuisance. What most people don’t realise is that barnacles are crustaceans (so closely related to crabs and shrimps) that have specialised and adapted to almost every marine environment, from the depths of over 5000m to being exposed at low tide for hours a day.
9 Aug 2018
A team of researchers led by scientists from the Western Australian Museum has identified two new populations of one of WA’s rarest and most bizarre animals, the blind cave eel.
The finds were made in two locations in the remote Pilbara region of Western Australia.
The blind cave eel, Ophisternon candidum, is one of Australia’s least-known fishes and is the longest cave fish in the world, growing up to 40cm long.
It is one of only three Australian vertebrates known to be entirely restricted to underground waters such as caves and wells.
18 May 2018
It is sometimes hard to comprehend just how biodiverse the planet is.
Despite almost 300 years of progress describing the animals, plants, fungi, and other organisms, there are estimated to be over 9 million undescribed species, which is almost five times the number of described species.
This is a huge problem for conservation, as undescribed taxa are at risk of being overlooked when shaping management strategies. Sadly, many species will go extinct before science ever discovers, describes, and protects them.
7 May 2018
As part of the Net Conservation Benefits Fund project, we have discovered 18 new species of Chromodoris nudibranch sea slugs. In our paper (Flexible colour patterns obscure identification and mimicry in Indo-Pacific Chromodoris nudibranchs; Mol. Phylo. Evol. 124, 27-36) we show that many of these new species have very similar colour patterns to already described species, which can be confusing when trying to identify species. This finding suggests that these colour patterns are not very reliable.
20 Apr 2018
Last night saw the official launch of a new book on the freshwater fishes of the Kimberley
13 Apr 2018
Four new species from the Kimberley and Pilbara have been described by teams led by Dr Paul Doughty, our WA Museum Herpetology Curator (reptiles and amphibians).
Three new gecko species of the genus Gehyra from the Kimberley region (and one from the Northern territory) were discovered through the work. Detailed genetic analyses were conducted at the Australian National University (ANU), led by Professor Craig Moritz and a morphological study of specimens was carried out at the WA Museum led by Dr Doughty.
12 Oct 2017
13 Oct 2016
Textile conservation at the WA Museum
Image copyright WA Museum
Western Australian Museum
12 Jul 2016
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!
Molecular Systematics Unit
16 Jun 2016
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.
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).
18 Jan 2016
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.
22 Jun 2015
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.
17 Jun 2015
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.
21 May 2015
This blog entry was written by Kara Layton, a Marine Biology PhD student at the University of Western Australia.
6 May 2015
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