Zoe Richards

Curator (Marine Invertebrate Zoology)

Aquatic Zoology

BSc (Hons), PhD


(08) 9212 3872 zoe.richards@museum.wa.gov.au


  • Conservation of coral biodiversity
  • Molecular systematics
  • Biogeography and phylogeography
  • Conservation genetics
  • Population ecology
  • Optimizing monitoring of coral biodiversity 



Conducts and facilitates research on scleractinian corals, focussing on corals from the Kimberley and neighbouring bioregions. 

Services (to other bodies):

Represents the Western Australian Museum at meetings, workshops and provides expert advice about the status, management and conservation of hard corals and coral reef ecosystems. 


Marine Life of the Kimberley Region - museum.wa.gov.au/kimberley

Exhibitions and Public Programs

Provide identifications and expert advice to the public, students, government departments and researchers on all aspects of coral biodiversity and coral reef science. 

Selected Publications

Zoe’s full publication list can be found here

Zoe’s publications since 2016-present

Preston, S. and Richards, Z. (2020) Biological consequences of an outbreak of growth anomalies on Isopora palifera at the Cocos (Keeling) Islands. Coral Reefs

Richards, Z.T., Haines, L., Scaps, P. and Ader, D. (2020) New Records of Heliopora hiberniana from SE Asia and the Central Indian Ocean. Diversity

Wepfer, P.H., Nakajima, Y., Sutthacheep, M., Radice, V.Z., Richards, Z., Ang, P., Terraneo, T., Sudek, M., Fujimura, A., Toonen, R.J. and Mikheyev, A.S. (2020) Evolutionary biogeography of the reef-building coral genus Galaxea across the Indo-Pacific Ocean. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 151.

Underwood, J., Richards, Z.T., Berry, O., Oades, D., Howard, A., Gilmour, J. (2020) Extreme seascape drives local recruitment and genetic divergence in brooding and spawing corals in remote northwest Australia. Evolutionary Applications, 1-18.

West, K.M., Stat, M., Harvey, E.S., Skepper, C.L., DiBattista, J., Richards, Z.T., Travers, M.J., Newman, S.J., and Bunce, M. (2020) eDNA metabarcoding surveys reveals fine-scale coral reef community variation across a remote, tropical island ecosystem. Molecular Ecology, DOI: 10.1111/mec.15382

Thomas, L., Underwood, J.N., Adam, A.A., Richards, Z.T., Dugal, L., Miller, K.J. and Gilmour, J.P. (2019) Contrasting patterns of genetic connectivity in brooding and spawning corals across a remote atoll system in northwest Australia. Coral Reefs 39: 55-60

Alexander, J.B., Bunce, M., White, N., Wilkinson, S.P., Adam, A.A., Berry, T., Stat, M. Thomas, L., Newman, S.J., Dugal, L. and Richards, Z.T. (2019) Development of a multi-assay approach for monitoring coral diversity using eDNA metabarcoding. Coral Reefs, 39: 159-171

Beger, M., Wendt, H., Sullivan, J., Mason, C., LeGrand, J., Davey, K., Jupiter, S., Ceccarelli, D.M., Dempsey, A., Edgar, G. and Feary, D.A., et al. + Richards, Z.T. (2019) National-scale marine bioregions for the Southwest Pacific. Marine Pollution Bulletin 150: 110710.

Berry, O., Richards, Z., Moore, G., Hernawan, U., Travers, M. and Gruber, B. (2019) Oceanic and coastal populations of a harvested macroinvertebrate Rochia nilotica in north-western Australia are isolated and may be locally adapted. Marine and Freshwater Research doi: 10.1071

Darling ES, McClanahan TR, Maina JM, Gurney GA, Graham NAJ, Januchowski-Hartley F, Cinner JE, Mora C, Hicks CC, Maire E, Puotinen M, Skirving WJ, Adjeroud M, Ahmadia G, Arthur R, Bauman A, Beger M, Berumen M, Bigot L, Bouwmeester J, Brenier A, Bridge T, Brown E, Campbell S, Cannon S, Cauvin B, Chen C, Claudet J, Denis V, Donner S, Estradivari E, Fadli N, Feary D, Fenner D, Fox H, Franklin E, Friedlander A, Gilmour J, Goiran C, Guest J, Hobbs J, Hoey A, Houk P, Johnson S, Jupiter S, Kayal M, Kuo C, Lamb J, Lee M, Low J, Muthiga N, Muttaqin E, Nand Y, Nash K, Nedlic O, Pandolfi J, Pardede S, Patankar V, Penin L, Ribas-Deulofeu L, Richards Z, Roberts T, Rodgers K, Safuan C, Sala E, Shedrawi G, Sin T, Smallhorn-West P, Smith J, Sommer B, Steinberg P, Sutthacheep M, Tan C, Vargas-Angel B, Williams G, Wilson S, Yeemin T, Bruno JF, Fortin MJ, Krkosek M and D Mouillot. (2019) Social-environmental drivers inform strategic management of coral reefs in the Anthropocene. Nature Ecology and Evolution 3: 1341-1350.

Richards, Z.T., Carvajal, J.I., Wallace, C.C., Wilson, N.G. (2019) Phylotranscriptomics confirms Alveopora is sister to Montipora within the family Acroporidae. Marine Genomics 100703.

Richards, Z. T., Garcia, R.A., Moore, G., Fromont, J., Kirkendale, L., Bruce, M., Bryce, C., Hara, A., Ritchie, J., Gomez, O., Whisson, C., Allen, M., Wilson, N. (2019) An ecological refuge for resilient photosymbiotic fauna. Coral Reefs, 1-8.

Richards, Z.T., Newman, S.J. (2019) Outbreak of growth anomalies in Isopora palifera at Cocos (Keeling) Islands. Marine Biodiversity. 1-2.

Kirkendale, L., Hosie, A.M., Richards, Z.T. (2019) Taking North West shelf marine invertebrate gaps off the shelf. Royal Society of Western Australia. 101, 68-76.

Gilmour, J.P., Cook, k.L., Ryan, N.M., Puotinen, M.L., Green, R.H., Shedrawi, G., Hobbs, J-P.A., Thomson, D.P., Babock, R.C., Buckee, J., Foster, T., Richards, Z.T., Wilson, S.K., Barnes, P.B., Coutts, T.B., Radford, B.T., Pigott, C.H., Depczynski, M., Evans, S.N., Schoepf, V., Evans, R.N., Halford, A.R., Nutt, C.D., Bancroft, K.P., Heyward, A.J., Oades, D. (2019). The state of Western Australia’s coral reefs. Coral Reefs.

Richards, Z.T., Yasuda N., Taisei Kikuchi, T., Foster, T., Mitsuyuki, C., Stat, M., Suyama, Y., Wilson, N. (2018). Integrated evidence reveals a new species in the ancient blue coral genus Heliopora (Octocorallia). Scientific Reports 8:15875

Richards, Z.T., Day, J.C. (2018). Biodiversity of the Great Barrier Reef – how adequately is it protected? Peer J. DOI 10.7717/peerj.4747.

Richards, Z.T., Bryce, M., Bryce C. (2018) The composition and structure of benthic communities in the Kimberley, NW Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum, Supp 85.

Underwood, J., Richards, Z.T., Miller, K.J., Poutien, M, Gilmour, J. (2018). Genetic signature through space, time and multiple disturbances in a ubiquitous brooding coral. Molecular Ecology.

Zinke, J., Gilmour, J.P., Fisher, R., Puotinen, M., Maina, J., Darling, E., Stat, M., Richards, Z.T., McClanahan, T.R., Beger, M. and Moore, C., (2018) Gradients of disturbance and environmental conditions shape coral community structure for south-eastern Indian Ocean reefs. Diversity and Distributions. 1472-4642; DOI: 10.1111/ddi.12714.

Rosser N., Thomas, L., Stankowski, S., Richards, Z.T., Kennington, J., Johnson, M (2017) Phylogenomics provides new insight into evolutionary relationships and genealogical discordance in the reef-building coral genus Acropora. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 284: 20162182.

Brandl, SJ., Emslie, MJ., Ceccarelli, D., Richards, Z.T. (2016) Habitat degradation increases functional originality in highly diverse coral reef assemblages. Ecosphere 7(11) e01557.

Richards, Z.T., Berry, O., van Oppen M.J.H. (2016) Cryptic genetic divergence within threatened species of Acropora from the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Conservation Genetics 17(3): 577-591.

Richards, Z.T., Ryan, N., Harvey, E., Garcia, R., Hobbs J.P.A. (2016) Diversity on the edge: nonlinear patterns of coral community structure at an isolated oceanic island. Marine Ecology Progress Series 546, 61-74.

Ceccarelli, D., Emslie, MJ., Richards, Z.T. (2016) Post-disturbance stability of fish assemblages measured at coarse taxonomic resolution masks change at finer scales. PLoS One 11; 22.

Richards, Z., Kirkendale, L., Moore, G., Hosie, A., Huisman, J., Bryce, M., Marsh, L., Bryce, C.,Hara, A., Wilson, N. and Morrison, S., (2016). Marine Biodiversity in Temperate Western Australia: Multi-Taxon Surveys of Minden and Roe Reefs. Diversity, 8(2), p.7.

Specht, J., Gosden C., Pavlides, C., Richards, Z., Summerhayes, G.R. (2016) Exploring Lapita Diversity on New Britian’s South Coast, Papua New Guinea. Journal of Pacific Archaeology 7(1):20-29.