Sessile marine invertebrates research

A general term for animals that live attached to the seabed for at least part of their life cycle.

Coral reef on the Great Barrier Reef, a priority research location for the Queensland Museum.
Photo: J. Hooper, QM.

Sponges (Porifera)

Project leader Dr John N.A. Hooper

Taxonomy, biogeography, biochemical and molecular studies of Porifera throughout the Indo-west Pacific, focusing on:

  • higher systematics revisions of phylum Porifera using morphological and molecular techniques
  • taxonomy, genetics and biogeography of both shallow water and deep sea species
  • interpreting and modelling patterns in biodiversity amongst regional sponge faunas
  • phylogeography of seamount sponge faunas; surveying and documenting the Great Barrier Reef inter-reef seabed
  • marine bioproducts from sessile marine invertebrates, including inventories and pharmaceutical potential of marine sponges from tropical Australasia and the western Pacific islands.

Corals and their relatives (Cnidaria)

Hexacorallia (hard corals)

Project leader: Dr Paul Muir

  • latitude and depth extensions of coral reefs
  • documentation of mesophotic reefs of the Indo West Pacific in collaboration with the University of Queensland and Catlin Seaview Survey 
  • taxonomy, phylogeny and molecular genetics of genera Montipora and Acropora  (Family Acroporidae).

Octocorallia (soft corals)

Project leader: Dr Merrick Ekins

  • taxonomic inventory and description of tropical Australian soft corals (octocorals) associated with coral reefs in Queensland and Indo Pacific

Tunicata (Ascidiacea): tunicates or sea squirts

Project leader: Dr Merrick Ekins

  • taxonomy of the Indo-Pacific ascidian fauna.

Bryozoa (moss animals, lace corals, sea mats)

Project leader: Dr Robyn Cumming

Taxonomic, biogeographic, phylogenic and ecological studies of Bryozoa of tropical Australia and Papua New Guinea (PNG), focusing on:

  • Documenting Bryozoa species from northern Australia, from Torres Strait to Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia, and establishing a baseline reference collection of Bryozoa for the network of marine reserves in this region.
  • Ecological effects of acidified seawater at volcanic CO2 vents in Milne Bay, PNG, on bryozoan species.
  • Taxonomy, biogeography and phylogeny of the Bryozoa superfamily Smittinoidea of the Queensland coast, Great Barrier Reef and Gulf of Carpentaria.
  • Monographic studies on Bryozoa species from the Great Barrier Reef inter-reef seabed, and from Milne Bay, PNG.