Talking about taxonomy

05 July 2011

Talking about Taxonomy

A free public lecture at the Museum of Tropical Queensland on Tuesday 12 July at 12pm will reveal how new species are being described every day.

The talk by Assistant Curator Chad Buxton of the Museum’s Tropical Biodiversity section, offers a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the way an unknown organism becomes a new species.

Museum of Tropical Queensland Director Peter McLeod believes many people are unaware of what goes on in the research and collection areas of the Museum.

“In this public seminar, Chad Buxton a scientist working at MTQ, will give visitors an insight into what is involved in being a modern-day curator,” Mr McLeod said.

“He will show you the steps in the process of describing a new species and talk about his current research on a little-known group of marine organisms that live on tropical reefs.”

Chad Buxton has recently joined the Tropical Biodiversity research team as assistant curator under Dr Niel Bruce.

He emigrated to Australia from the United States in 2000 and completed a Bachelor's Degree with 1st Class Honours in Marine Science at the University of Queensland.

He is currently studying a group of tropical marine Isopods and is busy describing new species primarily from Australia but also other parts of the world.

Mr Buxton said his talk, titled “The Life of an Isopod Taxonomist: What goes on behind closed doors”, would surprise visitors.

“People who wonder what goes on in all those rooms filled with glass jars and specimens are in for a treat,” Mr Buxton said.

“I am often asked how scientists describe and name a species but then once described, there’s so much more to learn about each and every specimen.

“Through a multi-media presentation, visitors will glimpse some very small and therefore rarely seen animals that are new to science and Australia,” Mr Buxton said.

The lecture is part of the Museum of Tropical Queensland’s Discover More Talk series, held on the second Tuesday of each month.

The Museum of Tropical Queensland, part of the Queensland Museum, is open from 9.30am to 5pm daily.

Locals enjoy free entry, through the generous support of Townsville, Burdekin, Charters Towers and Hinchinbrook councils.

Media Contacts:     Mei Nee Cheong     (07) 4726 0603 or 0414 264 987
                               Stephen Wilson     (07) 4726 0604 or 0431 334 583