Sessile marine invertebrates research

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

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

Sponges (Porifera)

Project leader Dr John N.A. Hooper

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

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

Corals and their relatives (Cnidaria)

Hexacorallia (hard corals)

Project leader: Dr Carden Wallace

  • worldwide taxonomic revisions, biogeography and phylogenetics of hard corals
  • taxonomy of anemones
  • taxonomy, toxicity and stinging behaviour of hydro- and cubo-medusae from the Queensland coastal and Great Barrier Reef regions.

Octocorallia (soft corals)

Project leader: Dr Monika Schlacher

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

Tunicata (Ascidiacea): tunicates or sea squirts

  • taxonomy of the Indo-Pacific ascidian fauna.


Project leader Dr Kevin J. Tilbrook

Taxonomy, biogeography, of Bryozoa throughout the Indo-west Pacific, focusing on:

  • higher systematics revisions of phylum Bryozoa using morphological techniques
  • taxonomy, and biogeography of both the inter-reef seabed and reef-associated Bryozoa of the Great Barrier Reef