Australian Biological Resources Study
ABRS, October 2006
ISSN 0814 B8880
ISBN-10: 0 642 56848 0 (web version)
ISBN-13: 978 0 642 56848 9 (web version)
Australian Biological Resources Study farewelled its Director, Mary Colreavy, in April this year. Mary’s enthusiasm and energy will be missed by ABRS and all those she dealt with. Mary has moved on to the position of acting Assistant Secretary with the Programmes Division of the Australian Government Natural Resource Management team. This is a joint venture between the Department of the Environment and Heritage and the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. We welcome Cameron Slatyer as the new Director of ABRS. Cameron comes to us from the Natural Heritage section of the Australian Government Department of the Environment and Heritage where he has worked for 10 years. He has extensive experience with the Australian Natural Heritage Assessment Tool for evaluating areas for heritage value and listing. Previously he worked for the then State Forests of New South Wales. He has a particular interest in centres of endemism in Australia particularly relating to frogs, land snails and reptiles. He brings to ABRS a wealth of experience in networking and collating species information, its online delivery, mapping and analysis, and its use with environmental assessment.
ABRS continued to produce high quality publications last financial year with the release of Fungi of Australia, Hygrophoraceae, the first of the taxonomic treatments in this series. Publication of the beautiful Castiarina Australia’s Richest Jewel Beetle Genus book by Shelley Barker was celebrated with a launch at the South Australian Museum in April. In addition one electronic book (on CD ROM), Catalogue of Tunicata in Australian Waters by Patricia Kott, was published. Publication of another CD ROM, On The Fly, the Interactive Atlas and Key to Australian Fly Families by Joanna Hamilton and others, and Flora of Australia Vol. 51 Mosses 1 in July 2006 has meant a good start to the ABRS delivery of biodiversity information for the current financial year.
We continue to add to the data held in our online databases. An additional 9000 species names were added to the Australian Faunal Directory in the last 12 months. This database now holds information on 71 470 accepted species of fauna. Species Bank now delivers 380 fact sheets on species of environmental or economic significance including ants, bees, crayfish, fungi and sea anemones. The Australian Marine Algal Name Index now holds information on 2478 macroalgae and 410 Dinophyta (protists) and is now available through the ABRS website. The Checklist of Australian Liverworts and Hornworts and the Checklist of the Lichens of Australia and its Island Territories were updated including the addition of links to 454 images. These databases can be accessed through the ABRS online resources website: http://www.deh.gov.au/biodiversity/abrs/online-resources/index.html
The ABRS Participatory Programme distributed $1.869m in funding for 57 taxonomic research grants, scholarships, student travel bursaries, and the Australian Botanical Liaison Officer position at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, UK.
Substantial progress has been made on the Australian Faunal Directory (AFD). A major contribution has been the addition of information for all of the fishes. Also added were the chaetognaths (arrow worms) and branchiopods (fairy shrimps, shield shrimps, clam shrimps). Updated groups in the database include the sponges, Marsupialia, Prototheria (monotremes), true mammals, Auchenorrhyncha, Tunicata and thrips. Databasing of around 3000 further species is currently underway. Several small contracts have been set up this year for databasing ostracods (mussel shrimps), some small moth and fly groups, and a wasp family. An expanded and updated database of Araneae is in-house for editing.
Major groups still requiring work are flatworms (trematodes and free-living forms), lower Crustacea (Cladocera), and some further groups of Lepidoptera, Coleoptera, Diptera and Hymenoptera.
Good initial progress was made in 2005/06 redeveloping the Australian Faunal Directory to increase its capability to capture and store taxonomic information, with the aim of decommissioning the Platypus system. This work will continue into 2006/07 and we welcome Wi Bing Tan, who has joined ABRS until June 2007 and will be working on further redevelopment of AFD. The upgraded AFD will provide a simplified browser interface for data entry and will also integrate better with other Department of the Environment and Heritage species databases. The upgrade will be developed in parallel with the ongoing operation of the current system and in consultation with various fauna experts and users of the current AFD.
The ABRS Advisory Committee comprises a Chair, six members selected for their technical expertise in taxonomy/systematics, and a further four members with wide-ranging knowledge of stakeholder views. The 57th ABRS Advisory Committee meeting convened in Canberra on 30 March 2006 and the 58th Meeting on 30 August 2006. The Advisory Committee is a non-statutory body which provides technical and policy advice to the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister responsible for the Australian Biological Resources Study. Advice includes assessing and recommending funding for research grants and contracts; training schemes; and the development of strategic and operational priorities and directions for the Programme.
The terms of five members will end this December and we wish to thank them for their valuable input; they will be greatly missed. The members leaving the Committee are Chair Dr Ian Gould, two long-serving technical members, Dr Winston Ponder and Dr John Pitt, and two stakeholder members, Mr Guy Fitzhardinge and Dr Jane Gilmour.
As mentioned earlier, ABRS has farewelled Mary Colreavy from the position of Director and welcomes Cameron Slatyer as the new Director. ABRS has also farewelled Cathy Crozier, who left recently to seek new challenges and experiences in the Department with the Commonwealth Environment Research Facilities team. Cathy had been with ABRS for 18 months and provided valuable assistance with administration, financial processing, book sales and especially organising the ABRS Advisory Committee meetings and assisting with secretariat duties. Gail Kenmuir joins ABRS to take on the role of Administrative Assistant to the team. Gail has extensive administration experience through many years of work with CSIRO.
A number of other staff have been employed on contract to undertake special projects.
Australia is a voting participant in the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), an international coordinating body that aims to develop and maintain a facility for sharing digital biodiversity data globally. The current Memorandum of Understanding between GBIF and each participitating country expires in 2006. A new 2007–2011 MOU has been prepared by GBIF. Joanne Daly of CSIRO Entomology is the Head of the Australian Delegation to GBIF, and earlier this year Jim Croft of the Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research was elected as a Vice Chair of the GBIF Nodes Committee. ABRS maintains close working relationships with GBIF, Joanne and Jim. ABRS supports GBIF data-sharing activities by developing and hosting the Australian participant node to GBIF. This node is the Australian Biodiversity Information Facility (ABIF). ABRS has received further Natural Heritage Trust funding to continue development of the ABIF web portal. The funding will allow the ongoing employment of the ABIF Project Manager (Steve Shattuck) and the ABIF Portal Developer (David Levy). The ABIF Steering Committee and Technical Committee, established to assist in design and development of ABIF, met during the year. Joanne Daly continues to chair the ABIF Steering Committee and Steve Shattuck continues to chair the ABIF Technical Committee.
The ABIF team collaborates with herbarium and museum staff, and good progress is being made with development of the portal. It is expected to be fully functional in early 2007. The ABIF portal can access specimen data and taxonomic names data from any GBIF data provider. Caching makes user access to the data easier and faster. A mapping function is also available. The ABIF website is being developed at http://www.abif.org. Comments and suggestions about it can be sent to email@example.com.
The Pakistan Museum of Natural History, ABRS and CSIRO Entomology were awarded a GBIF mentoring grant to assist Pakistan to prepare their biodiversity data for use in the GBIF network. Two staff from Pakistan, Dr Khalid Mahmood and Mr Ubaidullah Azeem, will travel to Canberra in October 2006. They will have various training opportunities with the ABIF team and other biodiversity collection managers (e.g. the Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research and CSIRO Entomology). Their new skills will be used to set up a GBIF data portal in Pakistan.
Entered in the 2006 Printing Industries Craftsmanship Awards (PICA): WA region, Castiarina Australia’s richest jewel beetle genus, has earned Advance Press (printer) and ABRS (publisher) a gold medal in the category ‘Casebound book’.
ABRS is now calling for applications for grants to be provided in the 2007/2008 financial year. The application forms, guidelines and other instructions are available from the ABRS website at: http://www.deh.gov.au/biodiversity/abrs/admin/grants/index.html
Research Project Grants are aimed at developing taxonomic understanding of the Australian biota in areas compatible with the Australian Government’s National Research Priorities. Applications will be accepted for research on all groups of organisms including protists, algae, fungi, lichens, bryophytes, flora and fauna. Funding will be considered for individual applicants as well as research teams that bring together complementary expertise and/or facilities. Funding can be requested for a maximum of three years.
Where appropriate, requests that include the training of students (at honours and postgraduate levels) and early career researchers (e.g. postdoctoral level) are strongly encouraged. Where complementary expertise in systematics research exists, joint supervision by academic staff in universities and researchers in museums, herbaria, CSIRO and other institutions is also encouraged.
In recent years ABRS has expanded its role to deliver taxonomic information in a range of formats. Biodiversity Information Product Grants have been introduced specifically for projects that lead to the development of discrete products such as:
Normally, applications for Biodiversity Information Product Grants will be for one or two years, and more rarely for a maximum of three years. Applicants planning to apply for this type of grant are strongly encouraged to contact ABRS staff to discuss the merits and scope of the intended project.
Projects funded under the Participatory Programme must support the Australian Government’s National Research Priorities, in particular the key area of An Environmentally Sustainable Australia. However, in some cases, projects may also address the goals of two other areas of National Research Priority, namely Promoting and Maintaining Good Health and Safeguarding Australia. Before completing the application form, applicants are strongly advised to read information on the National Research Priorities, available at: http://www.dest.gov.au/sectors/research_sector/policies_issues_reviews/key_issues/national_research_priorities/default.htm
Within the National Research Priorities, the ABRS Advisory Committee has identified the following specific criteria for applications under the ABRS Grants Scheme:
Projects submitted for 2007/2008 funding must aim to address one or more of these criteria within the relevant section of the application form, and relate these to the goals of one of the National Research Priorities. Further information regarding the ABRS criteria and National Research Priorities may be obtained from the ABRS Business Manager, phone (02) 6250 9554 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
10 November 2006
The Australian Biological Resources Study (ABRS) awards an annual PhD scholarship to foster research training compatible with ABRS and National Research Priorities. The postgraduate scholarship is awarded to an outstanding student wishing to pursue a higher degree through research into systematics of the Australian flora and fauna.
Stipends are paid at a rate equivalent to that of the Australian Postgraduate Award (Industry) as set by the Australian Research Council (ARC). The rate set for 2006 was $25 118 per annum for three years. The stipend is tax exempt and is subject to indexation annually. An annual research support grant of $2500 is also provided to assist with research costs. Rates for 2007 had not been set at the time of Biologue’s publication.
ABRS PhD scholarships are open to Australian citizens or to those who have been granted permanent resident status. Candidates should hold a first or upper second class Honours degree or equivalent in an appropriate discipline and be strongly motivated to undertake a project in systematic biology. The applicant must enrol as a full-time student. Applicants are also encouraged to take up a scholarship in a university other than that in which they undertook their first degree.
Application forms can be obtained from the ABRS website: http://www.deh.gov.au/biodiversity/abrs/admin/training/index.html
For further information please contact:
Department of the Environment and Heritage
GPO Box 787
Canberra ACT 2601
Ph: (02) 6250 9554
Fax: (02) 6250 9555
3 November 2006
Each year ABRS offers financial support to postgraduate students in Australian institutions for travel to a national or international conference relevant to both the student’s research programme in systematics or taxonomy, and to the aims and objectives of ABRS. A maximum of $1000 is available for an international conference and $500 for travel within Australia. In total up to $10 000 is available each year for these awards.
Application forms can be obtained from the ABRS website: http://www.deh.gov.au/biodiversity/abrs/admin/training/index.html or from:
Department of the Environment and Heritage
GPO Box 787
Canberra ACT 2601
Ph: (02) 6250 9554
Fax: (02) 6250 9555
10 March 2007 or 10 September 2007
ABRS PhD Scholarship
University of New England, Armidale NSW
As an undergraduate at the University of New England I became interested in systematics of Cyperaceae, Juncaceae and Restionaceae. My BSc (Hons I) project, supervised by Jeremy Bruhl and Karen Wilson, involved species limits in Lepidosperma (Cyperaceae), so I decided to undertake a systematics PhD project in Juncaceae supervised by Jeremy, Karen, and Adam Marchant.
Commonly known as rushes, members of Juncaceae are generally rhizomatous, sometimes annual, grass-like herbs. Many species are found in swampy or seasonally wet habitats, across a wide altitudinal range. Some are halophytic (Snogerup, 1993) while others grow in grasslands or similar open vegetation types (Balslev, 1998). Many species of Juncus are weeds in various parts of the world. Juncaceae is considered to be the sister group to the Cyperaceae; both are thought to have originated in West Gondwana more than 65 million years ago (Bremer, 2002).
Juncaceae today are cosmopolitan; in the tropics they are confined to higher altitudes. The family is composed of seven genera (Distichia, Patosia, Oxychloe, Marsippospermum, Rostkovia, Luzula and Juncus) and about 440 species, with over 400 of these in Juncus and Luzula. Juncus and Luzula are widespread, Marsippospermum and Rostkovia are both found in New Zealand and South America. The remaining genera are mostly confined to high altitudes in South America (Kirschner et al., 2002).
One part of the present project involved testing species limits in Australasian species of Juncus section Juncotypus (previously subgenus Genuini). Section Juncotypus has Australasia as its main centre of species diversity with 35 of the worldwide total of 67 species found in Australia, New Zealand and New Caledonia. The section includes the only two dioecious species in Juncus—J. ingens and J. psammophilus—both endemic to Australia.
I explored the morphology, anatomy and ultrastructure of various characters across the section. Although often referred to as leafless, species of Juncus section Juncotypus have basal leaves reduced to cataphylls, composed of a sheath and a mucro. The primary inflorescence bract appears to form a continuation of the culm, so the inflorescence is pseudolateral. Along with the monotypic Juncus section Forskalina the culm pith cells of section Juncotypus are astericiform aerenchyma compared with the rounded parenchyma cells in all other sections of Juncus.
Species limits in Australasian Juncus section Juncotypus were tested using phenetic analyses of morphology, anatomy and life-history traits. These analyses largely confirmed the limits set by others in most previous treatments. Strong support was also found for the recognition of two new species of Juncus.
Seed morphology was investigated and found to be a potentially useful source of taxonomic characters to delimit species of section Juncotypus and to distinguish the ten sections of Juncus.
Supposed natural hybridisation between two Australian members of Juncus section Juncotypus was tested using non-molecular and molecular data from specimens at a site in New South Wales. Ordination and cluster analyses of morphological and combined morphological and inter-simple sequence repeats (ISSR) data provided confirmation of the previously untested hypothesis that hybridisation and introgression had occurred between J. aridicola and J. subglaucus. This work provides a basis for future studies of natural hybridisation among Australasian species of Juncus.
The phylogeny of Juncus and some of its related genera was reconstructed using both non-molecular and molecular data. This study is the first to combine both chloroplast and nuclear DNA sequence data for this purpose in Juncaceae. Resulting cladograms of the non-molecular data partly support the currently accepted classification outlined by Kirschner et al. (2002) and those from the molecular data partly confirm the results of previous studies also based on molecular data. Analyses indicate that species limits in Rostkovia require further testing with morphometric data; this has led to a planned collaborative study.
The project findings will be the subject of several journal articles and will include the description of two new species of Juncus and the provision of amended keys for all Australian and New Zealand floras. An interactive identification key for all Australasian species of Juncus section Juncotypus will also be published and will include illustrations of diagnostic attributes. Clarification of the species limits will contribute to the treatment of Juncaceae in a future volume of the Flora of Australia series.
I am particularly grateful to Jeremy Bruhl, Karen Wilson and Phillip Sharpe for fostering my interest through freely sharing their knowledge and enthusiasm.
Research funds from an ABRS Postgraduate Scholarship were invaluable in allowing me to collect specimens of Juncus and outgroups from a wide geographic range and being able to obtain DNA sequences from a large number of species. This project could not have been undertaken without the generous financial support provided by the ABRS Postgraduate Scholarship, The University of New England through the N.C.W. Beadle Fund and Friends of Botany and the Linnean Society of New South Wales through the Joyce W. Vickery Scientific Research Fund.
Balslev, H. (1998), Juncaceae. In K.Kubitzki et al., (eds), The Families and Genera of Vascular Plants, pp. 252–260. Springer-Verlag, New York.
Bremer, K. (2002), Gondwanan evolution of the grass alliance of families (Poales), Evolution 56: 1374–1387.
Kirschner, J. et al. (2002), Species Plantarum: Flora of the World. Parts 6, 7, 8. Juncaceae, Australian Biological Resources Study, Canberra.
Snogerup, S. (1993), A revision of Juncus subgen. Juncus (Juncaceae), Willdenowia 23: 23–73.
Edith Cowan University/Western Australian Herbarium, Perth WA
In July 2005, thanks to an ABRS bursary, I was able to attend the XVII International Botanical Congress (IBC) in Vienna, Austria, exactly 100 years after the second International Botanical Congress was held there. This international meeting of botanists has taken place in various cities around the world every five to six years since 1900, except when prevented by war. The first of these Congresses was held in Paris with 233 attending scientists. At this 17th Congress I joined 4200 participants representing over 100 countries. This impressive gathering provided a forum which, through general lectures, symposia, workshops, poster presentations and exhibitions, enabled the latest developments in the botanical world to be communicated, demonstrated and discussed.
During the week prior to the Congress proper, the Nomenclature Section was held and I took the opportunity to attend several of its sessions. Here issues and disputes arising out of the interpretation of the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature are considered, discussed and voted on. The Code provides rules and guidelines to maintain consistency and avoid ambiguity when bestowing and publishing botanical names; its principles form the basis of the system of botanical nomenclature. The results of this Nomenclature Section will subsequently be published as the Vienna Code.
I attended nomenclature sessions on electronic publication, orthography and the priority and conservation of names, where submissions for exceptions to the priority rule of nomenclature were discussed. This year marked the culmination of a proposal to conserve the name Acacia with a new type (Orchard lin, 2003). The proposal involved replacing the traditional type, A. nilotica, an African/Asian species, with A. penninervis, from Australia. After much spirited debate, the proposal was passed at the Nomenclature Section with the required majority and subsequently ratified at the Plenary Session of the IBC. Never having been involved in nomenclatural issues at this level, this experience left me very much in awe and more aware of the complexity, importance and significance of the botanical code.
The scientific programme of the Congress took place from July 17th to 23rd during which time 258 symposia and general lectures and over 2700 posters were presented. I was pleased to be one of the exhibitors with a poster of my research work on the systematics of Lambertia (Proteaceae).
Eleven symposium themes focused on all aspects of basic and applied botanical research and included cell biology, genomics, systematics, phytochemistry, conservation, bioinformatics and economic botany. My choice of lectures was dictated by my research interests and my work on FloraBase at the Western Australian Herbarium. I attended symposia on angiosperm and gymnosperm diversification and evolution, angiosperm phylogeny, floral biology, palaeobotany and electronic management and dissemination of biodiversity information. My research has certainly been enriched by the opportunity to discover the latest approaches to systematics.
Not all the networking and learning took place inside. Many field trips were offered and I spent an exhilarating, if exhausting and muddy, day with new colleagues, exploring the magnificent virgin forest of Rothwald. This forest is rated Category 1 by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources and is located about 108 km west-south-west of Vienna, in the Northern Limestone Alps. Special permission had been obtained for members of the IBC to enter this area. The forest itself covers nearly 277 ha and has been preserved throughout the centuries, enduring boundary disputes, timber harvesting and deer hunting. Dominant trees in the forest, beech (Fagus sylvatica), fir (Abies spp.) and Norway spruce (Picea abies), are typical of Border Alps montane communities. The average height of the beeches is 40 m and that of the conifers 50 m, producing a two-storeyed canopy. Conifers here reach ages of 600 years, and beeches from 250 to 400 years. The forest floor is rich in humus, with abundant small herbs and ferns. Decaying nurse-logs host hundreds of tiny spruce saplings. A mosaic of soils ranging from carbonate-rich to very acidic supports the forest’s growth.
Spending two weeks with like-minded people is indeed a source of inspiration and the opportunities at this event for absorbing the latest techniques, approaches and concepts in botany, combined with the chance to extend the lecture participation with informal discussion and to establish contact with scientists working on similar research topics, made this Congress a truly memorable and valuable experience.
I would like to sincerely thank the ABRS for helping me to attend the Congress.
Greuter, W. et al., (eds) (2000), International Code of Botanical Nomenclature (Saint Louis Code). Regnum Vegetabile 138: 1–474. Koeltz Scientific Books, Königstein.
Orchard, A.E. & Maslin, B.R. (2003), Proposal to conserve the name Acacia (Leguminosae: Mimosoideae) with a conserved type. Taxon 52(2): 509–512.
Organising Committee of the XVII International Botanical Congress (2005), Final Program, XVII International Botanical Congress, Vienna. http://www.ibc2005.ac.at
University of Hamburg (2006), Botany Online—History of IBC, http://www.biologie.uni-hamburg.de/b-online/ibc99/ibc/history.html
Western Australian Herbarium (1998–), FloraBase—The Western Australian Flora. Department of Environment and Conservation. http://florabase.calm.wa.gov.au/
Zukrigl, K. (2005), Notes for IBC 2005: Excursion to the virgin forest Rothwald (unpublished).
Australian Institute of Marine Science, Townsville QLD
Kenneth Wasmund is a PhD student working with Dr Kathryn Burns of the Australian Institute of Marine Science on an ABRS-funded project Microbial biodiversity of oil and gas seeps in the Timor Sea.
The Timor Sea is a region of great ecological significance with highly productive, biodiverse ecosystems associated with large carbonate mounds and coral reefs. The area has particular economic importance because of its world-class oil and gas reserves. The Timor Sea is being actively searched for exploitable hydrocarbon reservoirs that are often associated with these biologically rich carbonate mounds.
Intense paleo- and present-day natural hydrocarbon seepage has occurred in the region. There appears to be an interesting spatial relationship between the locations of the hydrocarbon seeps and carbonate mounds. The Timor Sea may represent a natural laboratory to study interactions between hydrocarbons and marine life. Although the region’s geology has been intensely investigated, relatively little is known about the general biodiversity, ecology and biogeochemical processes occurring within this hydrocarbon-rich region.
Microorganisms (mainly from the domains Bacteria and Archaea) play important roles in cycling elements, nutrients and energy and those capable of utilising hydrocarbons may be of special importance in the Timor Sea. For instance, they are probably significant in reducing the flux of seeping methane (a strong greenhouse gas) to the atmosphere; assisting in long-term sequestration of hydrocarbon-derived carbon in the form of authigenic carbonates; preventing accumulation of toxic petroleum hydrocarbons in sediments; and transferring hydrocarbon-derived energy and carbon to higher trophic levels.
Particular conditions at hydrocarbon seeps often lead to distinctive microbial diversity and community structures. Depending on the underlying geology, seeps may cause selection for unique biodiversity. Selective pressures include high concentrations of various hydrocarbons, sulphides, hypersaline brine fluids, groundwater, and enrichments of trace elements and other reduced chemicals. Geographical separation of hydrocarbon seeps throughout the world may provide opportunities for exceptionally divergent microbial evolution. Hydrocarbon seeps in the Timor Sea have great potential for the discovery of novel microbial diversity.
This PhD project aims to provide an account of the microbial diversity associated with hydrocarbon seeps in the Timor Sea. This involves traditional methods for the isolation of pure cultures where possible. Because many microorganisms are notoriously difficult to culture in the laboratory, molecular methods are used to examine phylogenetic diversity.
Microorganisms that can be cultured can be characterised and subjected to detailed taxonomic investigations, while microbes detected using culture-independent methods will illustrate and document this special phylogenetic diversity and contribute to our understanding of the diversity of microorganisms on earth. Furthermore, information derived from molecular analyses may be used to select rationale for attempts to culture previously unisolated microbes from phylogenetic groups detected in molecular surveys.
Preliminary findings from molecular culture-independent surveys of the domain Archaea from sediments associated with a profusely venting hydrocarbon seep have identified relatively broad diversity; other well-studied seeps from around the world have revealed generally limited phylogenetic diversity within the archaeal domain. Many of the 16S rRNA gene (a phylogenetic marker gene widely used for inferring evolutionary relationships among prokaryotes) sequences obtained so far have been divergent from sequences already maintained within the GenBank database, indicating the probable existence of many new species, genera and possibly families. Similar examinations of the domain Bacteria in the Timor Sea are predicted to uncover significant diversity.
Estimates indicate enormous microbial diversity on planet Earth, with much of this associated with marine and sedimentary environments. Only recently have molecular techniques allowed us to begin to explore and reveal the huge diversification of microbial life after 3.8 billion years of its existence. Work on the Timor Sea Microbial Diversity Project will contribute to our understanding of the great diversity of microbial life on earth, while also contributing to our understanding of ecological and biogeochemical processes in the Timor Sea.
Simone H.J.J. Louwhoff
Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne VIC
Nephroma is the sole genus in the family Nephromataceae, included in the suborder Peltigerinae (Ascomycotina). The Peltigerinae contain mainly cyanobacterial lichen associations, perhaps including the most primitive extant lichens, so they are very interesting from an evolutionary perspective. This group includes lichen fungi that are able to form a thallus either with a green alga or cyanobacterium (referred to as a bipartite association) or with both at the same time (tripartite). Lichens containing cyanobacteria can fix substantial amounts of atmospheric nitrogen into combined organic nitrogen, thereby contributing to the nitrogen budget of forests and grasslands. With the exception of Nephroma australe, the Australian species of Nephroma are bipartite and contain the cyanobacterium Nostoc.
Nephroma derives its name from the Greek nephros (kidney), referring to the shape of the apothecia, which are situated on the lower surface of the lobe apices. Species grow on bark, rocks or mosses and have a foliose, spreading, dorsiventral thallus, which is membranaceous or leathery, and can grow up to 30 cm diameter. Terpenes and pigments are common in this genus and are useful in the identification of species. They are detected by thin layer chromatography (TLC) and high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Seven broad chemical groupings have been identified for Nephroma and three of these occur in Australian species.
Worldwide the genus comprises about 40 species, distributed in the temperate zones of both hemispheres. Only four species occur in Australia: Nephroma australe, N. cellulosum, N. helveticum and N. rufum.
Nephroma australe is readily distinguished from the other Australian species by the yellowish or greenish brown (indicative of usnic acid) smooth upper surface and by the tripartite nature of the thallus. The dominant alga is the green photobiont Coccomyxa, and the cyanobacterium Nostoc occurs in small, separate clumps (cephalodia) within the lower surface. Two chemical races exist. It is a large, conspicuous species, common in cool temperate rainforest of Australasia and southern South America. In Australia it is known from New South Wales, Tasmania and Victoria, displaying the greatest diversity in Tasmania.
Nephroma cellulosum, another large conspicuous species, is characterised by the brownish, markedly honeycombed and ridged upper surface, which has small, leaf-like outgrowths (phyllidia), and by the puckered lower surface. Nephroma cellulosum is a widespread southern species occurring in southern temperate South America, including Islas Juan Fernández, and in New Zealand. In Australia it is known from New South Wales, Tasmania and Victoria where it occurs in rainforest, heathland, and high altitude mixed sclerophyll and open Eucalyptus forest.
Nephroma helveticum forms a cosmopolitan species aggregate and one of the taxa that has been segregated is N. rufum. The latter is distinguishable by phyllidia that mainly occur on the upper surface rather than along the margins, by the more or less smooth rather than hairy upper and lower surface, and by an alternative chemistry. Nephroma helveticum has been reported to have larger spores than N. rufum (15–20 μm cf. 20–25 μm) but the spore size does not appear to vary greatly among the Australian specimens. Nephroma helveticum is a cosmopolitan species uncommon in Australia and confirmed only for Queensland (where it is rare) and New South Wales. Former records from the Australian Capital Territory and Victoria are now identified as N. rufum, which is the more common of the two species. Nephroma rufum is an Australasian species reported for New Zealand and Australia where it occurs in Queensland, New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, Victoria and Tasmania. It most commonly grows on rocks, often among mosses, but also on soil, tree trunks and branches.
Elix, J.A., Giralt, M. & Wardlaw, J.H. (2003), New chloro-depsides from the lichen Dimelaena radiata, Bibliotheca Lichenologica 86: 1–7.
Galloway, D.J. (1985), Flora of New Zealand: Lichens. P.D.Hasselberg, Government Printer, Wellington.
Galloway, D.J. (1994), Biogeography and ancestry of lichens and other ascomycetes. In D.L.Hawksworth, (ed.), Ascomycete Systematics: Problems and Perspectives in the Nineties. NATO Advanced Science Institutes Series. Plenum Press, New York.
Hawksworth, D.L. (1988), The variety of fungal-algal symbioses, their evolutionary significance, and the nature of lichens, Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 96: 3–20.
James, P.W. & White, F.J. (1987), Studies on the lichen genus Nephroma. I. The European and Macaronesian species, Lichenologist 19: 215–268.
Kantvilas, G. & Elix, J.A. (1992), A new species and new records from the Tasmanian lichen flora, Muelleria 7: 507–517.
Lohtander, K., Oksanen, I. & Rikkinen, J. (2002), A phylogenetic study of Nephroma (lichen-forming Ascomycota), Mycological Research 106: 777–787.
Louwhoff, S.H.J.J. (2005), The lichen genus Nephroma in Australia, Muelleria 22: 3–10.
McCarthy, P.M. (2003), Catalogue of Australian Lichens, Flora of Australia Supplementary Series Number 19. Australian Biological Resources Study, Canberra.
Orange, A., James, P.W. & White, F.J. (2001), Microchemical Methods for the Identification of Lichens. British Lichen Society.
Redón, J.F. & Quilhot, W.P. (1977), Los liquenes de Juan Fernandez. I. Estudio preliminar, Anales del Museo de Historia Natural de Valparaiso (Chile) 10: 15–26.
White, F.J. & James, P.W. (1988), Studies on the genus Nephroma: II. The southern temperate species, Lichenologist 20: 103–166.
Wilkund, E. & Wedin, M. (2003), The phylogenetic relationships of the cyanobacterial lichens in the Lecanorales suborder Peltigerineae, Cladistics 19: 419–431.
LaTrobe University, Melbourne VIC
In August 2005 Linda Semeraro, a LaTrobe University MSc student with ABRS Travel Bursary funding, attended the 12th International Auchenorrhyncha Congress at UC Berkeley USA, and the 6th International Workshop on Leafhoppers and Planthoppers of Economic Significance. Auchenorrhyncha Congresses bring international researchers and specialists together to discuss and disseminate the latest results relating to this abundant insect group. Presentations at the 2005 Congress covered phylogenetics, systematics, invasive species, feeding behaviour and plant disease vectors. Linda reports on the highlights of her trip.
At the Congress I learned about current methods used in systematic studies within this group; increased the profile of Australian Cicadellidae, particularly Macropsinae fauna; and had the opportunity to further highlight taxonomic research on Cicadellidae in Australia.
In my oral presentation, ‘A systematic study of the Macropsinae (Cicadellidae) of Australia’ I summarised my preliminary project results. Following this, other researchers offered to collect and send macropsine specimens (particularly of Northern Hemisphere fauna) to me. These specimens will be useful for comparisons with the Australian fauna.
Direct benefits to my project, gained by attending the Congress, include the improvement of taxonomic methodologies relating to data collation; revision/addition of morphological taxonomic characters to matrix; and new ideas for potentially broadening the scope of this study.
New taxonomic characters to be considered in this study relate to female specimens. Female Cicadellidae generally provide few useful taxonomic characters and it is the male genitalia which are best examined. In the current Macropsinae project, females are not easy to separate at species level based on external characters. A study presented by Roland Mühlethaler (Naturhistoriches Museum, Switzerland) has shown that a character at the base of the female ovipositor is actually variable between species of Palaearctic leafhoppers. This might be a useful character to investigate for application in the female macropsines. Furthermore, a systematic study of one of the largest leafhopper sub-families, Deltocephalinae, by James Zahniser (Department of Entomology, University of Illinois, USA), found leg chaetotaxy and aspects of female genitalia useful in determining relationships between tribes. These characters could be examined more closely to see whether there is any variation within the Macropsinae.
New approaches in phylogenetic analysis were revealed throughout the Congress presentations, where morphological and molecular data were combined to provide better-resolved phylogenetic trees. Molecular studies could be used with the Macropsinae to investigate phylogenetic relationships between genera and to help understand some species complexes.
The Congress provided plenty of opportunity to meet leading Auchenorrhyncha researchers, taxonomists and specialists. Highlights included meeting Dr Andy Hamilton (Canada), who revised the world Macropsini in 1980. He suggested further collecting of Australian Macropsinae specimens and gathering host data (of which very little is known in Australia) would help gain a better understanding of Macropsinae ‘species’. Links were developed with workers involved with Cicadellidae research in Europe, South America and North America, including meeting Chris Dietrich (Illinois Natural History Survey, USA) who conducts much of the leading molecular work on leafhoppers overseas.
Other trip highlights included visits to the Californian Academy of Sciences and Essig Museum insect collections.
Attending the Congress provided an opportunity for me to visit international insect collections with major Australian Macropsinae type holdings, including The Natural History Museum in London and the Bishop Museum in Honolulu. I was able to examine Australian type specimens representing at least 19 species critical to this project and 13 Papua New Guinean type specimens, plus other relevant Australian and PNG non-type material. I have now seen almost all of the Australian Macropsinae holotypes and syntypes.
Presentations during the Congress and discussions with leading international Auchenorrhyncha researchers improved the current strategies of my project and stimulated new ideas for future research.
Birgit Löcker, Geoff Gurr
University of Sydney NSW
NSW Department of Primary Industries, Orange NSW
NZ Arthropod Collection, Auckland New Zealand
Ökoteam, Graz Austria
Planthoppers of the family Cixiidae include some serious pests of agriculture throughout the world. Damage is done primarily through transmission of phytoplasma diseases such as Vergilbungskrankheit in Germany (German grapevine yellows, transmitted by Hyalesthes obsoletus), Phormium yellows in New Zealand (transmitted by Oliarus atkinsoni) and the widespread coconut lethal yellows (transmitted by Myndus crudus).
The role of Australian cixiids in phytoplasma transmission has not been established although there are plenty of diseases for which no vector has yet been identified, including Australian grapevine yellows which is closely related to Phormium yellows.
A revision of the planthopper family Cixiidae in Australia is nearing completion with funding from ABRS and the University of Sydney’s International Postgraduate Research Scheme. Austrian student Birgit Löcker will be submitting her thesis later in the year after three years sorting out the Australian cixiids under the supervision of Murray Fletcher (NSW DPI, Orange), Marie-Claude Larivière (NZ Arthropod Collection, Auckland), Werner Holzinger (Ökoteam, Graz) and Geoff Gurr (University of Sydney; now at Charles Sturt University, Orange).
Birgit and her co-workers have increased the recognised Australian cixiid fauna from 64 species in 23 genera to 203 species in 48 genera. The main contribution to this increase has come from the tribe Gelastocephalini which originally had 10 species in 7 genera and now has 60 species in 27 genera. This tribe is shared only between Australia and New Caledonia. The paper detailing this work (Löcker et al., 2006) filled most of the first issue of Invertebrate Systematics this year.
Included among the new genera is Aubirestus Löcker and Larivière, a monotypic genus known only from a single male (now in SA Museum) from Greenly Island off the coast of South Australia and two females from ‘South Australia’ in the Macleay Museum. The genus name is derived from the first two letters of each word in Australian Biological Resources Study to acknowledge the ABRS funding support for the project.
The Cixiidae component of the Australian Faunal Directory has been updated to incorporate the new taxa and a pictorial key to the genera of Gelastocephalini has been added to the Agricultural Scientific Collections Unit website at http://www.agric.nsw.gov.au/Hort/ascu/fulgor/cixiid/gel00.htm
Birgit and her team have also submitted revisions of the cixiid tribes Pentastirini, Mnemosynini, Brixiini and Andini, but none has revealed the same level of undiscovered diversity that was found in the Australian Gelastocephalini.
Löcker, B., Fletcher, M.J., Larivière, M-C., Gurr, G.M., Holzinger, W.E. & Löcker, H. (2006), Taxonomic and phylogenetic revision of the Gelastocephalini (Hemiptera: Cixiidae), Invertebrate Systematics 20(1): 59–160.
Claire Stephens, Andy Austin
Centre for Evolutionary Biology and Biodiversity, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, The University of Adelaide SA
Previously, the only tool available for identifying families of Australian Hymenoptera (ants, bees, wasps and sawflies) has been a difficult-to-use dichotomous key. However, over the last five years a collaborating group of researchers from The University of Adelaide (Nick Stevens, Claire Stephens, John Jennings and Andy Austin), CSIRO Entomology (John La Salle) and the Australian Government Department of the Environment and Heritage (Muhammad Iqbal) has been developing a user-friendly tool for identification of the Australasian fauna. What wasp is that? An interactive identification guide to Australasian families of Hymenoptera is based on the latest version of Lucid™ software and provides the means to identify not only wasps, but all 68 families of Hymenoptera that occur across Australasia. The key includes the 23 families that comprise the huge superfamily Chalcidoidea, many species of which are less than 1 mm in length. Although initially designed to cover only the Australian continent, the key has been expanded to include the remarkable New Zealand taxa Maamingidae (Early et al., 2001) and Rotoitidae (Boucek & Noyes, 1987) and unusual forms from widespread families, so that it now covers the hymenopteran fauna of the Indo-Pacific region south of the Malay Peninsula.
Special attention has been given to clear presentation of information on morphological character states. These are illustrated by over 250 full-colour images of features that can be easily resolved using stereo-light microscopy. In contrast to traditional keys, a combination of line drawings, scanning electron micrographs and colour images has been used to best illustrate each character. In addition, images are clearly annotated using simple terminology. The key also contains a comprehensive introduction to the biology, morphology and classification of the Hymenoptera, and pages linked to detailed information on each family, including over 350 colour photographs of exemplar species.
Why Hymenoptera? This group represents one of the five ‘mega-diverse’ insect orders, with over 115 000 described species worldwide. About 8000 described species are recorded for Australia, but the real number has been estimated to be in excess of 43 000 (Yeates et al., 2003; Austin et al., 2004). Species occur ubiquitously from forests and woodlands to grasslands and wetlands, freshwater and intertidal zones to urban parks and gardens. Wasps regulate insect populations through predation and parasitism; bees are among the most important pollinators of flowering plants; and ants dominate many terrestrial landscapes where they are involved in vital ecological processes such as predation, seed dispersal and soil health. Arguably, no other insect group plays such key roles in the functioning of both natural and agricultural ecosystems.
In addition to their agricultural significance as pollinators and biological control agents, Hymenoptera have also proved to be useful tools for ecological studies and environmental management. This is not just because of their species richness and ubiquity, but also due to the enormous range and number of interactions and linkages they have with other organisms and their surrounding environment. Specific relationships with both host taxa and host niches allow parasitic wasps to be used for the indirect investigation of other arthropod groups, their associated habitats, and trophic levels.
Specific habitat requirements, complex life-cycles and often naturally small populations also make parasitoids sensitive to changes caused by habitat modification. Ant communities have been used extensively to evaluate and monitor ecological disturbance and land management practices such as fire, grazing and habitat rehabilitation and restoration. The conservation of many rare native plant species, such as orchids, often requires the identification and management of their wasp and bee pollinators. Accordingly, What wasp is that? will become an invaluable resource for students, researchers, biological control practitioners, those involved in ecological surveys and monitoring, or simply anyone with an interest in this unique and important, yet often unnoticed, component of our native biodiversity.
The key is currently being tested by novice and experienced students and researchers, and will be released through the Australian Biological Resources Study in late 2006.
Austin, A.D., Yeates, D.K., Cassis, G., Fletcher, M.J., La Salle, J., et al. (2004), Insects ‘Down Under’—Diversity, endemism and evolution of the Australian insect fauna: examples from select orders, Australian Journal of Entomology 43: 216–234.
Boucek, Z. & Noyes, J.S. (1987), Rotoitidae, a curious new family of Chalcidoidea (Hymenoptera) from New Zealand, Systematic Entomology 12: 407–412.
Early, J., Naumann, I.D., Masner, L. & Austin, A.D. (2001), Maamingidae, a new family of proctotrupoid wasps from New Zealand, Invertebrate Taxonomy 15: 341–352.
Yeates, D.K., Harvey, M.S. & Austin, A.D. (2003), New estimates for terrestrial arthropod species-richness in Australia, Records of the South Australian Museum Monograph Series 7: 231–241.
Barbara Cook, ABRS Grantee
Gavin Gouws, NRF Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Centre of Excellence in Natural Resource Management, University of Western Australia WA
The Phreatoicidea, or ‘friartucks’ as they are known, are an enigmatic and ancient group of isopods. They have occupied freshwater habitats since the Triassic, and have a fossil record stretching further back to the Carboniferous, predating all other known isopod and peracarid crustacean fossils.
The Phreatoicidea are a highly relictual group with a Gondwanan distribution. They hide in surface water (streams, rivers, wetlands and lakes) and groundwater habitats in Australia, New Zealand, southern Africa and India. Surprisingly, they appear to be absent from South America. The group contains about 70 described species in 30 genera globally, with diversity highest in Australia. The 62 Australian species so far discovered are from some 25 genera [http://www-personal.usyd.edu.au/%7Ebuz/checklist.html]. This number has increased dramatically over recent years, largely due to the efforts of Buz Wilson and colleagues at the Australian Museum, with significant support from ABRS.
Barbara Cook, a freshwater ecologist with expertise in crustacean systematics and taxonomy, launched the current ABRS project, which aims to investigate species diversity and relationships of the Western Australian friartucks, with extensive fieldwork, genetic analyses using allozyme and DNA markers, and subsequent morphological/taxonomic treatments. Despite the aridity of much of Western Australia, it has a generic diversity of Phreatoicidea that rivals parts of eastern Australia: eight phylogenetically heterogeneous genera exist. However, most of these are monotypic.
Phreatoicideans are notoriously difficult to delineate using traditional means, due to their particularly conserved morphologies that mask the presence of cryptic species. Often only subtle differences in characters discriminate species, while other features seem to vary quite substantially in individual populations. Gavin Gouws, fresh from a PhD dissertation on the molecular systematics and biogeography of the South African friartucks, joined the project as a postdoctoral research associate to share the fieldwork and drive the molecular investigations that will be a substantial focus of the project.
Given the restricted distributions and isolated localities of the monotypic genera, the authors decided their first focus should be on Paramphisopus and Amphisopus. Both genera contain multiple species and are thought to include additional cryptic species. Both have relatively wide distributions: Paramphisopus occurring in the wetlands of the Swan Coastal Plain around Perth, and Amphisopus along the south coast.
Twenty-three populations of Paramphisopus were collected from wetlands, groundwater, springs and small streams around Perth. Paramphisopus palustris were found in most localities and P. montanus was collected from a single known locality on the Darling Range. Genetic data were collected from 11 loci using allozyme electrophoresis and, working with Mike Johnson’s population genetics group (School of Animal Biology, UWA), mitochondrial DNA sequence data from the cytochrome oxidase subunit I gene were analysed. Surprisingly, genetic data revealed a pattern at odds with other phreatoicidean studies.
Unlike the South African studies (e.g. Gouws et al., 2004), and Buz’s ongoing ABRS-funded study of Eophreatoicus fauna [http://www-personal.usyd.edu.au/~buz/Eophreatoicus.html], where genetic data have shown substantial differentiation and suggested the presence of multiple cryptic species within a single nominal taxon, genetic distances and the phylogenetic pattern (including paraphyly of P. palustris with respect to P. montanus) supported recognition of only a single species. This is despite the morphological variation that led to description of the additional species and variety. Nonetheless, the analyses did reveal three major geographically defined lineages: two separated by the Swan River, the third occurring further south. Within each, geographically restricted subclades were also retrieved, while individual populations were genetically distinct. These lineages appear older than the geological settings in which they are found and it appears that they have occupied these from refugia separated by the Swan River. The study, although not revealing additional species, provides a unique perspective on conservation of wetlands of the region.
Six clades were identified as Evolutionarily Significant Units to acknowledge the representation of unique evolutionary legacies and history of the species in conservation areas. Only three lineages were adequately represented within the existing reserve structure. Water-demand is increasing; abstraction and altered hydrological regimes are likely to extend the duration of the seasonal dry period and impact negatively on these isopods that survive by aestivation. They suffer additional stresses from surrounding urban and rural land-use. The lack of protection for the lineages outside reserves is of concern. This study is among the first to provide a phylogeographic perspective on the conservation of these particular wetlands. Similar studies on other taxa may aid in identifying unique wetlands, prioritising conservation effort.
Amphisopus is documented in historical accounts as occurring in Albany (A. lintoni) and to the west of Pemberton (A. annectans), with no collections recorded from the intermediate area. Subsequent collections by Buz, as well as for this project, have revealed an almost continuous distribution between Albany and Pemberton. Samples have been collected from 18 localities across this transect. Genetic data have been used to quantify differentiation among the two known species, focussing on populations from the extremes of the distribution. This extent of differentiation appears typical for separate species. As yet, no evidence has been found for additional species within Amphisopus, but that may well change with analysis of more sequence data, particularly from the intermediate localities.
We have collected samples of most of the Western Australian phreatoicidean fauna and are collaborating with colleagues to obtain specimens of the remaining genera so evolutionary relationships among the Western Australian fauna can be studied. Existing studies have revealed the Western Australian fauna to have very diverse phylogenetic origins. Specimens from elsewhere in Australia and abroad will be included to test some phylogenetic relationships (and previous taxonomies) based on morphology. More extensive phylogenetic analyses will allow the age of the Western Australian lineages to be inferred.
Thus far, the phreatoicideans of Western Australia do not appear to be hyper-diverse in terms of species-richness. Nonetheless, the fauna is worthy of the utmost efforts to conserve it: most lineages are evolutionary ‘survivors’, being monotypic and occurring in highly refugial habitats (e.g. groundwater in the Pilbara and Kimberleys, and isolated mountain massifs like the Stirling Ranges in the south-west). Within the more common genera, a considerable amount of diversity, while not equating to species, can be lost without adequate documentation and conservation.
Gouws, G., Stewart, B.A. & Daniels, S.R. (2004), Cryptic species within the freshwater isopod Mesamphisopus capensis (Phreatoicidea: Amphisopodidae) in the Western Cape, South Africa: allozyme and 12S rRNA sequence data and morphometric evidence, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 81: 235–253.
Wilson, G.D.F. & Keable, S.J. (2001), Systematics of the Phreatoicidea. In B.Kensley & R.C.Brusca (eds), Isopod Systematics and Evolution. (Crustacean Issues 13), pp. 175–194. A.A.Balkema, Rotterdam.
Western Australian Herbarium, Department of Environment and Conservation, Perth WA
With over 260 taxa, the triggerplant genus Stylidium (Stylidiaceae) is one of the largest flowering plant genera in Australia and, when flowering, forms a conspicuous herbaceous element in a wide range of ecosystems. Some 70 per cent of species are endemic to south-western Western Australia, a region internationally recognised for its biodiversity. The genus is less abundant in other regions of Australia, especially the south-east, although a significant number of taxa are distributed across northern Australia. While Stylidium is mostly confined to Australia, eight species occur in south-east Asia, and one species is endemic to New Zealand.
Stylidium was treated by several European botanists in the 19th and early 20th centuries, but no formal monograph has ever been produced by a botanist based in Australia. Since Mildbraed’s revision in 1908, botanists have named over 130 new species, but there is no identification aid to the presently known taxa and no comprehensive checklist and synonymy exist. Furthermore, a significant number of species require formal recognition and several species complexes remain poorly understood.
Since July 2002 I have been working on an account of Stylidium for the Flora of Australia. I have concentrated on revising a large subset of perennial species from south-western Western Australia, primarily by means of comparative morphology. There is no shortage of taxonomically informative characters. The genus comprises both annual and perennial herbs and displays extraordinary diversity in growth form, leaf arrangement and morphology, and inflorescence structure.
Stylidium flowers are incredibly varied in shape, size, colour and orientation of the corolIa lobes. The centre of the flower is often adorned with appendages and/or colourful markings. These entice insects towards the throat of the flower and correctly orientate them for pollen transfer. The morphology of these appendages and markings is highly variable and can be unique to a given species. I have found the length and morphology of the floral column to be taxonomically significant. Column length varies from 1.5 mm to over 20 mm and is usually quite consistent within a given species.
I am supplementing morphological data with observations on leaf and trichome anatomy, both of which are of critical importance in understanding relationships within the genus. Variation in trichome structure and distribution is often diagnostic (Wege, 2006a–c). I am also drawing on previous genetic studies, including the landmark paper by James (1979) who demonstrated that the speciation of Stylidium within the south-west is associated with extensive chromosome number change. The identity of many of his voucher specimens has been confirmed or corrected to reflect improved taxonomic knowledge. James made counts for several species I have since recognised as new (e.g. S. planirosulum Wege), highlighting the importance of collecting voucher material.
The revision is proving to be an enormous and somewhat overwhelming task, partly due to the size of the genus and the vast number of herbarium collections that have been made. Sorting and annotating the collection at the Western Australian Herbarium, which houses some 10 000 specimens, is proving to be a laborious and frustrating task. Many taxonomically informative characters are difficult, if not impossible, to discern on herbarium specimens, and rehydrating pressed flowers is often unsuccessful. Field observations and photography combined with the study of flowers preserved in spirit have therefore been essential to accurately capture important taxonomic information. I have conducted field expeditions across a range of habitats throughout the south-west. Much of my collection effort has been in the coastal high-rainfall zone (home to the greatest diversity of species) and adjacent districts, although some triggerplants are known from drier, inland habitats, including the recently named S. validum (Wege, 2005).
Field work has not been without its challenges. Being small and often slender, triggerplants can be readily overlooked when not in flower. Like many orchids, individual plants tend to have a fairly short flowering season and therefore close attention must be paid to the timing of any triggerplant foray. Sympatric species may stagger their flowering times, necessitating repeated visits to the same locality. Some species fail to flower in drought years (as was the case in 2002); others appear to require fire to stimulate flowering. These factors, combined with budget and time constraints, have meant that I have yet to see all south-west triggerplants in the field.
To date I have reviewed 120 species, of which 22 are newly recognised, two are elevated from subspecific level, and six are reinstatements of old names (Wege, 2005 & 2006a–f, with several revisions in preparation). Critical examination of type material at various European institutions has also uncovered several situations in which botanical names have been misapplied. A DELTA database of some 200 characters has been developed and is continually being revised and modified. This database will provide a framework for an interactive key to the triggerplants. An interactive approach will greatly increase the ease with which both pressed and living plants can be identified.
Some species of Stylidium are common and reasonably widespread; many are rare and/or geographically restricted as a result of highly specific habitat requirements or, in many cases, habitat loss. This project has resulted in 16 additions to the Priority Flora list for Western Australia. There are now 70 south-western triggerplants on the conservation priority list, many of which require further field survey to determine their precise conservation status.
Although this research represents a substantial contribution towards a treatment of Stylidiaceae for the Flora of Australia, it is clear that much work remains before we can come to a more complete understanding of this most extraordinary group of plants. The location and interpretation of historical type material and the correct application of early botanical names remains a major research challenge. The timing of my term as 2005–2006 Australian Botanical Liaison Officer at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew has been fortuitous since it has enabled me to come to a better understanding of the research previously conducted on the genus, and to acquire data, images and references that will underpin current and future research.
James, S.H. (1979), Chromosome numbers and genetic systems in the triggerplants of Western Australia (Stylidium; Stylidiaceae), Australian Journal of Botany 27: 17–25.
Mildbraed, J. (1908), Stylidiaceae. In A.Engler, (ed.), Das Pflanzenreich IV, 278. Engelmann, Weinheim.
Wege, J.A. (2005), Stylidium validum (Stylidiaceae): a new trigger plant Western Australia’s South-west Interzone, Journal of the Royal Society of Western Australia 88: 13–16.
Wege, J.A. (2006a), Stylidium diplotrichum (Stylidiaceae): a new scale-leaved trigger plant from south-west Western Australia, with taxonomic and anatomical notes on allied species, Nuytsia 16(1) in press.
Wege, J.A. (2006b), Taxonomic notes on the locket trigger plants from Stylidium subgenus Tolypangium section Repentes, Nuytsia 16(1) in press.
Wege, J.A. (2006c), Taxonomic observations on Stylidium spathulatum (Stylidiaceae), with the description of three allied species from section Saxifragoidea, Nuytsia 16(1) in press.
Wege, J.A. (2006d), Reinstatement of Stylidium rigidulum (Stylidiaceae), with notes on the morphologically allied S. kalbarriense, Nuytsia 16(1) in press.
Wege, J.A. (2006e), Taxonomic observations on the Stylidium leptocalyx complex (Stylidiaceae), Nuytsia 16(1) in press.
Wege, J.A. (2006f), Description of Stylidium hymenocraspedum, and the lectotypification of S. maitlandianum (Stylidiaceae), Nuytsia 16(1) in press.
Natural Heritage Trust & ABRS
Phillip Suter, David Cartwright, Cassandra Bryce
Department of Environmental Management and Ecology, La Trobe University VIC
Environment Protection Authority, Melbourne VIC
Department of Zoology, University of Tasmania TAS
School of Environmental Science, Murdoch University WA
Department of Environment and Conservation, Perth WA
A Natural Heritage Trust-funded project, managed by ABRS and aimed at making available tools for better management of our waterways, has resulted in the publication of Habitat Profiles of selected Australian Aquatic Insects, available for download from the ABRS website http://www.deh.gov.au/biodiversity/abrs/publications/electronic-books/aquatic-insects.html or on CD ROM from ABRS.
Information on the distribution of aquatic insects in Australia is generally limited to records from taxonomic literature or ecological studies. Except for groups like dragonflies and damselflies, knowledge of distributional ranges of Australia’s aquatic insect fauna is mostly fragmentary. National river health sampling programs—Monitoring River Health Initiative (MRHI) and First National Assessment of River Health (FNARH)—using Rapid Bioassessment (RAP) methods, usually have identified aquatic macroinvertebrates to family level only.
Family-level identification has well-known limitations; major ecological disturbances can be detected but more subtle changes are not. One reason for this is that many families of aquatic macroinvertebrates are Australia-wide in their distribution and, importantly, the often numerous species within each family have widely varying ecological tolerances. Subtle changes can only be detected at the species level. Working at family level limits the ability to predict effects of environmental change such as global warming, impacts of different land uses, or water extraction. Family-level identification is also insufficient to allow detection of macroinvertebrates that may have narrow distributions, especially those which merit conservation status of ‘threatened’ or ‘endangered’.
We chose to target four orders of insects, three of which—Ephemeroptera (mayflies), Plecoptera (stoneflies) and Trichoptera (caddisflies), collectively referred to as ‘EPT’—are well-documented as providing a useful measure of stream water quality. A fourth group, Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies), was included as these tend to be easily observed and their taxonomy in Australia is probably more stable than that of many aquatic groups.
Limitations of family-level identification were addressed by identifying selected species from these four major orders of aquatic insects. These species were then associated with the ecological data to develop an ecological/habitat profile for each species. A trial study on the Queensland mayflies (Suter et al., 2002) was used as a template for this broader, Australia-wide study.
Data and samples collected systematically and from a wide range of localities under the MRHI and FNARH programmes provided excellent raw material for examination of species and habitat occurrence across Australia. With the cooperation of all States and Territories this material was examined and a select subset of the aquatic insects was identified to species or morpho-species.
Over 20 000 macroinvertebrate samples were examined. These samples came from over 5000 locations. All samples were collected using the River Bioassessment protocol (Davies, 1994), with samples taken in spring and autumn. Associated with each sample was a series of environmental parameters (Davies, 1994) that enabled us to prepare a habitat profile for each species.
A distribution map for each species was prepared and for each species the altitude-frequency, distance from source-frequency, mean substrate particle size, stream width-frequency, depth-frequency, alkalinity-frequency and conductivity-frequency graphs were plotted. The habitat profile was determined using the habitat parameters. These profiles are presented as printable individual fact sheets for each species. Included are 203 taxa: caddisflies—107 species-level taxa from 20 genera; mayflies—64 taxa from 18 genera; dragonflies and damselflies—17 taxa from 14 genera; and stoneflies—15 taxa from 12 genera.
The study indicates that some species are widespread geographically and exhibit wide ecological profiles and tolerances, whereas other species are very restricted in these characteristics. Variability in habitat profiles and tolerances within families is often considerable, and may even be markedly different between congeneric species.
The wide range of habitat tolerances exhibited by congeneric species supports the thesis that presence/absence at family level only may be too coarse a measure to detect impacts of disturbance. We found that some species may be useful indicators of the impact of climate change in the aquatic ecosystems. For example Acruroperla atra, a notonemourid stonefly, is found in the south-east of the continent, but in the northern parts of its range in NSW it is found at higher altitudes than in the southern parts of its range in Victoria. Some species were found to be restricted in their distribution and may be candidates for listing as ‘threatened’ or ‘endangered’.
Davies, P.E. (1994), River Bioassessment Manual. Australian Government Printing Service, Canberra, ACT.
Suter, P.J. et al. (2002), Habitat Profiles of Queensland Mayflies, Families Baetidae, Caenidae & Prosopistomatidae. CRC for Freshwater Ecology, Thurgoona, NSW.
Various authors (2006)
ISBN-10: 0 643 09240 4, ISBN-13: 978 0 643 09240 2
ISBN-10: 0 643 09241 2, ISBN-13: 978 0 643 09241 9
This is the first of three volumes describing and illustrating more than 1000 species of Australian mosses. Together, they will represent the first national account of these diverse and ecologically significant organisms. The main features of the first volume are:
The volume includes descriptions, in Flora of Australia style, of 22 families, 42 genera and 238 species and infra-specific taxa, including synonymy, specimen citations and notes on habitat and distribution. Distribution maps are provided for each species and infra-specific taxon, as well as more than 50 pages of line-art illustrating habit and anatomy and 64 colour photographs.
Published jointly by ABRS and CSIRO Publishing.
B5 · xx + 450 pages
ISBN-10: 0 643 09376 1, ISBN-13: 978 0 643 09376 8
The anamorphic fungal genus Septoria is one of the largest genera of plant pathogens, causing a range of disease symptoms including leaf and fruit spots in agricultural crops as well as horticultural and native plants. These fungi are known to infect hosts in 54 families of flowering plants in Australia, most notably the Asteraceae (daisies and their relatives) and the Poaceae (grasses).
This authoritative account, the first overview of the Australian taxa, documents 132 species of Septoria, its teleomorph Mycosphaerella and six related genera. Eleven species are described as new to science, and 64 names are regarded as doubtful or are excluded from the Australian mycota. A comprehensive introduction to Septoria and its allies is followed by detailed descriptions and illustrations of each taxon.
Published jointly by ABRS and CSIRO Publishing.
B5 · vi + 259 pages
J.Hamilton, D.Yeates, A.Hastings, D.Colless, D.McAlpine, D.Bickel, G.Daniels, M.Schneider, P.Cranston & S.Marshall (2006)
ISBN-10: 0 642 56845 6, ISBN-13: 978 0 642 56845 8
True flies, the Diptera, are ubiquitous and often abundant in Australian terrestrial ecosystems. Yet from a fauna estimated at around 30 000 species, only about 20 per cent are described so far, and most of these only occur in Australia. Flies perform important ecological functions such as nutrient recycling, predation and pollination. Many fly larvae are parasitoids of other insects. Some are economically important pests or vectors of disease, while others are beneficial, and play important biological or ecological roles such as regulating pest populations. And, of course, we all know flies as pesky co-inhabitants of this continent.
This interactive key uses The Lucid™ Player software that provides an easy-to-use interface, comprehensive fact-sheets, diagnostic features for all fly families and numerous photographs of macroscopic and microscopic features.
This lavishly illustrated set of keys to families and higher levels, and the accompanying atlas of fly morphology and guides to collection, preservation and study of fly anatomy is an extraordinary resource for identification and study-and for sheer interest. It is an invaluable tool not only for amateur and professional entomologists, but also for biology students and their teachers, conservation and land managers, environmental consultants and, indeed, anyone interested in the diversity, beauty and curiosities of the natural world.
Published jointly by ABRS and the Centre for Biological Information Technology (CBIT).
CD ROM · PC & MAC
P.Suter and various authors (2006)
ISBN-10: 0 642 56846 4, ISBN-13: 978 0 642 56846 5
Habitat profiles are outlined for representatives of four insect orders: Ephemeroptera (mayflies), Plecoptera (stoneflies), Trichoptera (caddisflies) and Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies). They demonstrate a wide diversity of preferences among representative species in some families, thus indicating that a broad, family-level approach may not give very reliable measures of changes in river health. This has consequences for conservation of natural resources, prediction of impacts of different land uses and water extraction, and prediction of the effects of environmental change such as global warming.
ISBN-13: 978 0 64256 843 4
A useful tool for professional scientists, natural resource managers and wildlife protection officers, this book includes identification keys, diagnostic features, notes on mimicry, distribution and adult food plants, and realistic colour renditions of the beetles. For those with an artistic eye and love of fine books, the splendid design and superb illustrations of all 478 Castiarina species—these real jewels—will bring delight. For the general reader the relaxed tone of the introductory sections makes easy reading, and the stories of some of the wild antics of the beetle collectors will bring a smile or, among those of similar ilk, feelings of empathy. This book provides a wonderful display of the diversity of life, within one group of beetles. For further information read the article called Jewel beetles sparkle further down this page.
B5 · hardcover · vi + 341 pages
G.Cobb & R.C.Willan (2006)
ISBN-10: 0 642 56847 2, ISBN-13: 978 0 642 56847 2
A ‘ready-reckoner’ easy-to-use colour guide to 277 species of nudibranchs on the Queensland coast, complete with introductory information on the group, their habits and habitats. An excellent handbook for beachcombers, divers and research workers. For further information read the article called Undersea Jewels, A colour guide to nudibranchs further down this page.
A5 · softcover · 310 pages
J.M.Huisman, with co-authors for several genera (2006)
Nemaliales, one of the most diverse and significant orders of red algae in Australian waters, are found on shores, in rockpools and in the subtidal zone on all coasts of Australia. This volume documents the three families, 20 genera and 55 species of Australian Nemaliales. It is richly illustrated; gives a detailed introduction to the history, structure, reproduction and relationships of the order; identification keys to families, genera and species; comprehensive descriptions of each taxon; and advises on the microscopical examination of specimens. Appendices include the description of the new genus Titanophycus and DNA sequence analyses of the evolutionary relationships of the order.
Published jointly by ABRS and CSIRO Publishing, this book will be available in late 2006 from CSIRO Publishing.
B5 · hardcover · viii + 153 pages
Various authors (2006)
Volume 2 of the Flora of Australia describes 24 families of plants, including some of the most primitive flowering plants known. Many of them are tropical: in the rainforest the Lauraceae include important timber trees, while Aristolochiaceae, Austrobaileyaceae and Piperaceae are often spectacular flowering vines. Nymphaceae, or waterlilies, are found across northern Australia while at the other end of the continent, the Ranunculaceae include many herbaceous alpine species.
Jointly published by ABRS and CSIRO Publishing, this book will be available in early 2007 from CSIRO Publishing.
B5 · hardcover or softcover · xviii + 486 pages
Douglass F. Hoese and various authors (2006)
Australia’s 4482 fish species are documented in this new three part set, the Zoological Catalogue of Australia, Volume 35, Fishes, written by Douglass Hoese, Dianne Bray, Gerald Allen, John Paxton, and others. A previous volume, published in 1989, is updated and integrated into this very comprehensive coverage of nomenclatural, type, distributional, ecological and bibliographic information. Of particular value is the extensive information on the status of knowledge of groups and species derived from collaboration with world experts. This new Catalogue will be an invaluable resource for research and fisheries management and industries, and provide the basis for future work on Australia’s fish fauna.
Published jointly by ABRS and CSIRO Publishing, this Catalogue will be available in late 2006 from CSIRO Publishing.
B5 · hardcover · 3 part set
Volume 35.1: xxiv + 670 pages
Volume 35.2: xxi + 801 pages
Volume 35.3: xxi + 705 pages
For many years after the colonisation of Australia by Europeans, the study of its biodiversity took place almost exclusively in Europe, especially in the United Kingdom. Australian plants were described and named using specimens collected on historical expeditions, or sent to Europe by early colonists. These botanical collections, which to this day largely remain in Europe, are an essential scientific resource for Australian botanists who are still striving to document Australia’s extraordinary array of plant species. The annual appointment of an Australian Botanical Liaison Officer (ABLO) to work at the herbarium of the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew in London has proven to be a highly successful way of obtaining access to these resources.
The ABLO examines and reports on the Australian plant collections housed at Kew, often providing Australian and New Zealand botanists with specimen images and other critical data to aid their taxonomic research. Other common tasks include locating and providing copies of obscure botanical literature from extensive and comprehensive European libraries; examining correspondence and other material stored in Kew’s archives; assisting Australians with scientific visits and contact information; and answering inquiries from Kew botanists relating to the Australian flora. Although based at Kew, the ABLO is also appointed as an associate of The Natural History Museum in London, and is expected to visit additional herbaria in Europe. In doing so, the ABLO plays an important role in maintaining research links between Australia and Europe.
Western Australian Government Botanist Charles Gardner was Australia’s first Botanical Liaison Officer, spending two years at Kew from 1937. Botanists from all regions of Australia and at various stages of their careers have subsequently taken up the position, usually for a year term. Looking back through a list of my predecessors, I feel humbled to be Australia’s 50th Botanical Liaison Officer.
My year at Kew has been an enormously rewarding experience on both a personal and professional level. In addition to meeting and/or corresponding with so many Australian colleagues, I have been able to liaise with researchers based at Kew and other European research institutions, and also with many of the international visitors to Kew. It has been a fantastic opportunity to further my taxonomic research on the triggerplant genus Stylidium, and come to a greater understanding of the work conducted by Robert Brown, George Bentham and other botanical legends. Some of my most lasting memories will undoubtedly be from time spent within the gardens at Kew. The ABLO is provided with full access to the grounds—a 121 ha World Heritage Site brimming with botanical treasures.
The ABLO continues to be welcomed, supported and much valued by staff at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew and The Natural History Museum, London, who appreciate readily available expertise relating to their Australian collections. In recent years, the ABLO has received in the order of 160–180 requests per year, highlighting the continued relevance of the position. I hope that there are a sufficient number of new-generation taxonomists in Australia, and that they are provided with the necessary institutional support, to ensure the ABLO continues for at least another 50 years.
Australian Botanical Liaison Officer
The Australian Marine Algal Name Index (AMANI) is a collaboration between ABRS and Murdoch University, Western Australia. Until now a 1999 version has been hosted on the Murdoch website, but a newly enhanced and updated version is now available on the ABRS website at http://www.anbg.gov.au/abrs/online-resources/amani/. Dr Roberta Cowan of Murdoch University has been responsible for creating and maintaining this database.
AMANI is an online database of Australian macroalgae and some microalgae. Its cross-referenced nomenclatural and distributional information is used by taxonomists, ecologists and environmental consultants.
All the known accepted species names of Australian red, green, yellow-green and brown marine and estuarine macroalgae are listed in AMANI. Some of the blue-green algae have also been included. Nomenclatural synonyms and any misapplied names for these accepted species names have been included where these have been documented in the literature.
What’s in each entry?
For basionyms, additional entries are:
Around 300 beautiful seaweed images, kindly provided by Dr John Huisman from his publication, Marine Plants of Australia (2000), have been incorporated into AMANI.
A higher taxonomic structure of Division, Class, Order and Family has been added to the database. Searches of the database can be made via this hierarchy, by direct name search or by geographic distribution.
AMANI was originally designed to hold Australian macroalgae information, but it has been extended to cater for inclusion of the microalgae (protists). Dinophyta is the first group of microalgae to be added to AMANI along with some species of the micro-Heterokontophyta (diatoms). The latter were derived initially from information in Antarctic Marine Protists (Scott & Marchant, 2005).
The microalgae database is designed to capture additional ecological information (if known), such as whether the species has toxic strains, the nutritional status of the species and its habit and habitat. Data about the type illustration, type culture collection and accession number of the type culture will also be included if available.
Database Manager, ABRS
The table below summarises the number of species currently in AMANI.
|Division Name||Common Name||Total Species||Accepted Species|
Scott, F.J. & Marchant, H.J., eds (2005), Antarctic Marine Protists, ABRS, Canberra & AAD, Hobart.
Huisman, J.M. (2000), Marine Plants of Australia, UWA Press, Nedlands & ABRS, Canberra.
By Gary Cobb & Richard C. Willan
Undersea Jewels, a new ‘ready reckoner’ field guide to the nudibranchs of south-eastern Queensland, will be available shortly from ABRS. Nudibranchs are among the most colourful and charismatic of marine creatures, their shapes often particularly fascinating. The book covers 277 species of nudibranch (in the broad sense, i.e. = opisthobranchs) found on the Sunshine Coast of southern Queensland, but most are also found elsewhere in Australian seas, and many occur in the broader tropical Indo-West Pacific Region.
Undersea Jewels opens with general information on nudibranchs, their anatomical features, habits and general biology, and some of the findings of the authors’ long term study on the Sunshine Coast. A novel inclusion is a set of 11 colour charts showing images of all the species grouped according to the dominant body colour. Each small image is accompanied by the relevant page number. In the systematics section, which is the major part of the work, each species is allotted one page for a succinct description and a clear photograph of the animal, generally in situ, plus two detailed photos illustrating a critical feature or habit.
Important discoveries documented for the first time are the 13 species newly recorded for Australia, two species newly recorded for eastern Australia and 39 species newly recorded for the Sunshine Coast, and there is even one species not seen since 1864.
The book arises from a highly productive collaboration between amateur naturalist/marine-life photographer, Gary Cobb, and professional marine biologist, Richard Willan, who have been recording the nudibranch fauna of the Sunshine Coast since 1980. It will serve both the amateur and professional communities, increasing awareness and interest in this quite amazing group of marine animals and their variety of colours, shapes and habits. The extensive variability in nature is a precious commodity. This beautifully illustrated book will do much to raise and enhance awareness of the marine invertebrate community, and to encourage its conservation.
A new and colourful publication, a valuable biodiversity tool, from Australian Biological Resources Study
…Several of us attended the launch of the book by Shelley Barker, who has been an honorary researcher at the SA Museum for the last 10 years. Shelley retired from the Zoology Department of the University of Adelaide in 1996 and the book he has just completed is the culmination of 36 years of research. Apart from representing a fine piece of research, the illustrations of the jewel beetles make it a beautiful work of art as well. This was a powerful reminder of how blessed we are to have the capacity to turn our life’s interest into a profession. As long as we can retain the essential balance with the modern world’s demands on a University professional there is no reason why this should not continue. It was also a timely reminder of how important the Australian Biological Resources Study has been over many years in providing financial and professional assistance to systematics projects.
Prof. R. Hill
Professor Robert (Bob) Hill, Chair of the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Adelaide, launched Castiarina Australia’s Richest Jewel Beetle Genus, authored by Shelley Barker, edited by Alice Wells, with book layout and design by Brigitte Kuchlmayr. Over 100 people attended the launch at the South Australian Museum on the evening of 7th April 2006. Among them were Professor Andrew Austin, representing the ABRS Advisory Committee; present and past staff of the University of Adelaide and South Australian Museum; descendents of many of the beetle collectors; several of the book’s illustrators; and Alice and Brigitte from ABRS.
This book will be a useful tool for professional scientists, natural resource managers and wildlife protection officers. It brings together in one easily accessed book taxonomic information from more than a dozen scientific papers, together with new information, including notes on mimicry, identification keys, diagnostic features, distribution and adult food. Each of the 478 colourful beetle species is illustrated at three times natural size in 32 plates of beautifully crafted colour images prepared by Dr Barker and three illustrators—Jenni Thurmer of the South Australian Museum, Andrew Atkins, now retired but formerly from the University of Newcastle and David Goodwins, of the South Australian Department for Environment and Heritage—and a graphic artist highly skilled in digital enhancement of images, Jude Purcell.
The book provides a wonderful display of the diversity of life, within one group of beetles. Details of the book are available on the ABRS website at http://www.deh.gov.au/biodiversity/abrs/publications/other/castiarina.html
The book is one of the Biodiversity Information Tools that ABRS has supported as part of its Natural Heritage Trust Project.
Fauna Programme, ABRS
Fifty ‘fauna’ and 26 ‘flora’ grant applications were received by ABRS for consideration in the 2006 funding round, of which 27 were funded at least in part. The quality of applications and attention to detail continues to improve but the Research Subcommittee still has to deal with a number of applications that do not follow the instructions and guidelines. To assist future applicants, and to provide some background to the decisions made at the March 2006 meeting of the full Advisory Committee, the following information is provided on technical breaches and other major reasons for grant applications being unsuccessful. Note that some applications simply did not meet the criteria sufficiently to warrant funding while others were competitive projects but were ranked below the cut-off for available funds.
The following are breaches of the Guidelines that may make an application ineligible for consideration:
Due to limited funding and our commitment to fund only high quality, relevant projects, some applications that meet the technical guidelines may not be successful. Some of the reasons for an application being considered less competitive are:
Applications are not always funded in full. Reduced grants may be necessary due to the demand for funding and the desire to support as many high quality projects as possible. Some items may be cut from a budget because they are unacceptable under the ABRS guidelines. In this year’s round, cuts were made for these reasons:
Please note that grant applications must follow the ABRS application instructions and guidelines. This article is also available at: http://www.deh.gov.au/biodiversity/abrs/admin/grants/grant-report.html
* Nominations that are unsuccessful in one year may be updated and resubmitted for consideration in subsequent years.
Text updated from the GBIF website: http://www.gbif.org/Stories/STORY1121175609
The Centre for Biological Information Technology at The University of Queensland has produced a range of software tools used by biologists to develop and deploy identification keys and fact sheets on CD ROM and the Internet.
Lucid3™ identification key building software is the latest, Java-based, cross-platform edition—Lucid3™ is being used by taxonomists in over 90 countries.
Lucid keys have been developed to help:
Recently published keys:
To make the production of multimedia fact sheets much easier, Fact Sheet Fusion enables key developers to rapidly generate standardised and professional fact sheets in HTML or XML.
IdentifyLife is a worldwide collaborative project funded by the Moore Foundation to help identify the world’s living organisms.
Initially focused on increasing the efficiency of key development, IdentifyLife will grow to become an integrated platform for communities of researchers to collaboratively build and maintain keys and standardised character lists for all the world’s organisms.
Ph: +61 (0)7 3365 1851
Fax: +61 (0)7 3365 1855
Level 6, Hartley Teakle Building
The University of Queensland
Brisbane QLD 4072
Dr Jose Liberato & Dr Roger Shivas
Powdery mildew fungi (Erysiphaceae) of Australia
Department of Primary Industries & Fisheries, Queensland
Dr Teresa Lebel
Revision of Australian truffle-like fungi genera in the order Boletales (Basidiomycota)
Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne
Dr Bettye Rees
Molecular phylogeny and taxonomy of Hebeloma and Naucoria (Cortinariaceae) in Australia
University of New South Wales
Dr André Aptroot
The lichen family Pyrenulaceae, a treatment for the Flora of Australia
Adviesbureau voor Bryologie en Lichenologie, Netherlands
Dr Josephine Milne
A taxonomic treatment of Australian genera in the family Pottiaceae, subfamily Pottioideae
Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne
Mrs Robyn Barker
Completion of key (Lucid™) to all species of Hakea (Proteaceae) in Australia
State Herbarium of South Australia
Dr Barbara Rye & Mr Malcolm Trudgen
Preparation of revisions, flora treatments and an electronic key for Baeckea, Astartea, Scholtzia, Thryptomene, Micromyrtus and related genera
Department of Environment and Conservation, Western Australia
Mr Mark Adams
Taxonomic revision of the Australian freetail bat genus Mormopterus (Chiroptera: Molossidae)
South Australian Museum
Ms Marion Anstis
Tadpoles and frogs of Australia
Prof. Dr Gerald Moritz & Dr Laurence Mound
Lucid3™ electronic identification and information system (PC and MAC) to Australian Thysanoptera (Insecta)
University of Halle-Wittenberg
Dr Barbara Baehr
Revision of the Habronestes species of Queensland (Araneae: Zodariidae): an example for species richness and variation
Dr Jennifer Beard
Taxonomy and systematics of Australian Laelapidae and Leptolaelapidae
Dr David Cartwright
Revision of the Australian species of Hydrobiosella Tillyard (Trichoptera: Philopotamidae)
Dr Les Christidis
Systematics, biogeography, genetic differentiation and conservation of the grasswren Amytornis complex (Aves)
Dr Faye Christidis
Systematics and biogeography of the Australian Leptophlebiidae (Ephemeroptera)
James Cook University
Dr Donald Colgan
Morphological and molecular investigations of the systematics and phylogeography of the speciose landsnail genus Gyrocochlea (Mollusca: Charopidae)
Dr Steven Cooper & Mr Takeshi Kawakami
Systematics, phylogeography and speciation of chromosomally diverse Australian morabine grasshoppers (Orthoptera: Eumastacidae: Morabinae: Vandiemenella)
University of Adelaide
Dr Thomas Cribb
Opecoelidae (Platyhelminthes: Trematoda) of Australian tropical marine fishes: systematics and host-specificity
University of Queensland
Dr Susan Fuller
A comprehensive molecular systematic analysis of Australian mosaic-tailed rats (Rodentia: Melomys)
Queensland University of Technology
Dr Michelle Guzik
Systematics of the Australian Parabathynellidae (Crustacea: Bathynellacea)
University of Adelaide
Dr Christine Lambkin
Beta-testing the new ABRS web-interface with faunal treatment for the Australian stiletto flies (Diptera: Therevidae)
Dr Remko Leijs
Taxonomic revision of the Australian bee species belonging to the genus Amegilla, subgenera Zonamegilla and Notomegilla
University of Adelaide
Dr Jim Lowry
Australian benthic marine Amphipoda: monograph and illustrated interactive identification systems
Dr Jane Melville
An integrative approach to the revision of four genera of Australian lizards (family Agamidae, subfamily Amphibolurinae)
Dr Stanislaw Slipinski
Interactive keys to the Australian ladybird beetles (Insecta: Coleoptera: Coccinellidae). Part III Subfamily Scymninae
Dr Kerrie Swadling
Guide to the zooplankton of southern Australia: an integrated CD ROM and website
University of Tasmania
Dr Erich Volschenk
Systematic revision of the endemic Australian scorpion genus Urodacus (Scorpiones: Urodacidae)
Western Australian Museum
Dr Kathryn Burns
Microbial biodiversity of oil and gas seeps in the Timor Sea
Australian Institute of Marine Science
Dr John Pitt
The fungal family Trichocomaceae in Australia: from discovery to description
Food Science Australia, CSIRO
Dr Malcolm Ryley
A monograph of the plant-infecting members of the Order Clavicipitales in Australia
Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, Queensland
Dr Anthony Young
The taxonomy of the genus Ramaria in Australia
Dr Timothy Entwisle
A guide to identification of benthic non-marine Cyanobacteria of Australia
Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust, Sydney
Assoc. Prof. Gustaaf Hallegraeff
Phytoplankton flora of Tasmanian coastal waters
University of Tasmania
Dr John Huisman
Name That Seaweed: a multimedia approach to the identification of marine plants
Murdoch University, Western Australia
Assoc. Prof. Brett Neilan
A taxonomic assessment of cyanobiont diversity in Gunnera and cycad species in Australia, their
co-evolution and their potential use as biofertilisers
University of New South Wales
Dr Karen Beckmann
A flora treatment of the family Ricciaceae (Marchantiales) in Australia
Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne
Dr Swati Baindur-Hudson & Mr Neville Walsh
Use of molecular and genetic analysis to determine phylogenetic relationships in Spider Orchids
Victoria University, Werribee Campus
Dr Ian Thompson
A taxonomic review of tribes Rubieae and Anthospermeae (Family Rubiaceae) in Australia
University of Melbourne
Dr Frank Udovicic & Mr Neville Walsh
Completion of the Flora of Australia treatment for Rhamnaceae and resolution of generic limits
Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne
Dr Peter Wilson
Generic position of the non-persistent-fruited species of Leptospermum (Myrtaceae)
Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust, Sydney
Dr Belinda Alvarez de Glasby
Taxonomic revision of the order Halichondrida (Porifera: Demospongiae) of northern Australia and phylogenetic implications for sponge classification
Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory
Dr Claudia Arango
Systematics of Australian sea spiders (Arthropoda, Pycnogonida): taxonomy, diversity, and phylogenetic advances
Prof. Andrew Austin
Systematics of the Australian spider-hunting wasps (Hymenoptera: Pompilidae)
University of Adelaide
Assoc. Prof. Maria Byrne
Species composition and phylogeny of Australia’s bêche-de-mer species in the genera Stichopus and Actinopyga (Echinodermata: Holothuroidea)
University of Sydney
Dr Gerasimos Cassis
Systematics, biogeography and host associations of the lacebugs of Australia (Insecta: Heteroptera: Tingidae)
Prof. Steve Donnellan
Systematic revision of the Australo-Papuan hylid frogs based on a comprehensive molecular genetic framework
University of Adelaide
Dr Gregory Edgecombe
Systematics of Australian scutigeromorph centipedes and the phylogeny of the Scutigeromorpha based on morphological and molecular data
Dr Volker Framenau
The systematics of Australian orb-web spiders of the subfamily Araneinae (Araneae, Araneidae)
Western Australian Museum
Dr Michael Hodda
Description and addition of species of Aphelenchida to an electronic interactive key to Australian nematodes
Dr John Jennings & Mr Nicholas Stevens
Systematics of Australian agathidine wasps (Insecta: Hymenoptera: Braconidae): solitary endoparasitoids of lepidopteran larvae
University of Adelaide
Dr Jean Just
Australia’s Paramunnidae (Isopoda, Asellota, Janiroidea): the Austrosignum/Munnogonium/Heterosignum complex
Dr Tomislav Karanovic
Copepod marine meiofauna of Australia (Crustacea, Copepoda)
Western Australian Museum
Mr Rudolf Kohout
Revision of the Australian ants of the genus Polyrhachis; part 1—subgenera Cyrtomyrma, Hagiomyrma, Hedomyrma, Myrma, Myrmatopa, Myrmhopla, Myrmothrinax and Polyrhachis
Dr Patricia Mather
Taxonomy of the Ascidiacea (Tunicata)
Dr Peter Middelfart
Revisions of non-galeommatoid genera in the superfamily Galeommatoidea, with reviews of Australia’s most taxonomically difficult and poorly known bivalves—Mysella and Rochefortia
Dr Gary Poore
Interactive keys and guide to non-asellote marine Isopoda of Australia (Crustacea)
Dr Carden Wallace & Dr Daphne Fautin
Australia’s anemones—a revision of their taxonomy, distribution patterns and biodiversity
An Australian Botanical Liaison Officer (ABLO) has been appointed annually since the 1930s to work at the Herbarium of the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, United Kingdom. The ABLO services botanical inquiries from Australian and New Zealand sources, particularly from botanists working in State and Commonwealth herbaria, using the facilities at Kew, The Natural History Museum, London and, where necessary, other European herbaria.
Another role of the ABLO is to assist with botanical inquiries about Australia from European institutions, as well as pursuing personal scientific interests to enhance the collective knowledge of the Australian flora. Experienced botanists are encouraged to nominate for the position. This is an excellent development opportunity for mid-career botanists wishing to advance their skills.
Dr Juliet Wege has completed her term as ABLO (from September 2005 to August 2006) and Mrs Jennifer Tonkin has commenced her term (to run from September 2006 to August 2007).
The 2007/2008 ABLO has not yet been determined. If you are interested in applying for this or a future ABLO position please contact the ABRS Business Manager.
Applications for the 2008/2009 Australian Botanical Liaison Officer will be called for in early 2007.
ABRS Business Manager
Ph: (02) 6250 9554 or
Botanists, zoologists and artists are invited to submit expressions of interest to be included in a register for short-term ABRS contract work. For further information on short-term contracts please contact ABRS. The contract registration form is available from: www.deh.gov.au/biodiversity/abrs/admin/contracts/index.html
Previous applicants are also invited to update their expressions of interest.
Applications should be sent to:
Department of the Environment and Heritage
GPO Box 787
Canberra ACT 2601
A list of publications produced from research funded by ABRS grants is available from the ABRS website. Over 2000 publications have been listed and we seek your assistance to ensure the accuracy and currency of the list. Many publications listed as ‘in press’ have probably been published by now. There also may be publications that have not yet been included.
This list will become a valuable source of taxonomic information. ABRS requests all past and present grantees to review the publications listed against their names and to provide us with any amendments or additions.
Please send corrections to current listings and any information on additional publications to: email@example.com
To view the publications list, please check the ABRS website at: http://www.deh.gov.au/biodiversity/abrs/admin/grants/grants-reprint.html