Key Info

  • Position Title
    Senior Fellow, Marine Invertebrates
  • Section
    Marine Invertebrates Collection
    Life and Geosciences
    Australian Museum Research Institute
  • ORCID iD

Email Dr Penny Berents

Penny is a marine biologist with more than 40 years experience in research and museum policy and management. She retired in 2014 as Head of Natural Sciences at the Australian Museum and is now a Senior Fellow in the Australian Museum Research Institute. Penny has extensive experience in collection and data management for natural science collections and was responsible for implementing the Integrated Collection Management System (EMu) at the Australian Museum. As Collection Manager of Marine Invertebrates she was responsible for digitising the manually registered marine invertebrate collections. She initiated and encouraged numerous digitisation projects for museum collections, including DigiVol. Her research interests include the biodiversity and systematics of crustaceans, particularly cerapodine amphipods. She is describing the cerapodine amphipod fauna of Australia and the Indo-Pacific and has described more than 20 new species of crustacean amphipods and several new genera. Penny is a scuba diving instructor and experienced boat handler and has led many research and educational field trips to estuaries, temperate reefs (east coast of Australia) and coral reefs (including the GBR, Coral Sea, Indonesia, PNG, Solomon Islands, Timor Leste, Pohnpei and Ningaloo). She has participated in numerous deep sea expeditions studying invertebrate biodiversity in the Tasman Sea, Great Australian Bight and Western Australia and has experience on RV ‘Franklin’, FRV ‘Southern Surveyor’, RV ‘Tangaroa’ and ‘REM Etive’.


  • BSc UNSW 1974
  • MSc USyd 1980
  • PhD ANU 1990


  • Australian Marine Sciences Association (AMSA), President
  • Lizard Island Reef Research Foundation (LIRRF), Trustee
  • LIRRF Science Committee, Chair
  • National Marine Science Committee, AMSA representative
  • Council of Heads of Australian Faunal Collections (CHAFC) - Australian Museum representative, 2005-2012; Chair, 2006-2009.
  • Global Genome Biodiversity Network International Steering Committee, 2011-2012.
  • Global Genome Biodiversity Network Task Group – Policy and Practices, 2011-2012.
  • Australian Marine Sciences Association, Councillor, 2015-17; Secretary 2016-17.
  • Australian Marine Sciences Association, NSW Branch, Councillor 2009-present; President 2015-16.
  • GBIF Task Group on the Global Strategy and Action Plan for the Digitisation of Natural History Collections (GSAP-NHC), 2009-2010.
  • Council of Australian Biological Collections (CABC), 2011-2012.
  • Sydney Institute of Marine Science, Science Advisory Council, 2007-2011.
  • Australian Biological Resources Study, Advisory Council, 2006-2009.
  • Atlas of Living Australia, Management Committee, 2006-2009
  • NSW Biological Diversity Advisory Council (BDAC), 2001 – 2005


Berents, P.B., 1983. The Melitidae of Lizard Island and adjacent reefs, The Great Barrier Reef, Australia (Crustacea: Amphipoda). Records of the Australian Museum 35:101-143.

Berents, P.B., 1985. Warragaia rintouli n.gen., n.sp., (Amphipoda: Urohaustoriidae) from New South Wales, Australia. Records of the Australian Museum 36:253-258.

Lowry, J.K. & P.B. Berents, 1989. A re-description of Cerapus tubularis Say, 1817, based on material of the first reviewer, S.I. Smith, 1880, (Crustacea: Amphipoda: Corophioidea). Journal of Natural History 23:1341-1352.

Lowry, J.K. & P.B. Berents, 1996. The Ericthonius Group, a New Perspective on an Old Problem (Crustacea: Amphipoda: Corophioidea). Records of the Australian Museum 48:75-109.

Lowry, J.K. & P.B. Berents, 2002. The Genus Cerapus in the Andaman Sea (Crustacea: Amphipoda: Ischyroceridae). Phuket Marine Biological Center Special Publications 23(1): 189-196.

Lowry, J.K. & P.B. Berents, 2005. Algal-tube dwelling amphipods in the genus Cerapus from Australia and Papua New Guinea (Crustacea: Amphipoda: Ischyroceridae). Records of the Australian Museum 57:153-164.

Berents, P., M.Hamer & V.Chavan, 2010. Towards demand-driven publishing: Approaches to the prioritisation of digitisation of natural history collection data. Biodiversity Informatics 7:113-119.

Flemons, P. & P. Berents, 2012. Image Based Digitisation of Entomology Collections: Leveraging Volunteers to increase digitisation capacity. Zookeys 209: 203 -217.

Berents, Penelope B & J.K. Lowry, 2018. The new crustacean amphipod genus Kapalana from Australian waters (Senticaudata, Ischyroceridae, Ischyrocerinae, Cerapodini). Records of the Australian Museum 70: 391-421.

Przeslawski R, Berents P, Clark M, Dittmann S, Edgar G, Frid C, Hooper G, Hughes L, Ingleton T, Kennedy D, Nichol S, Smith J. 2020. Marine sampling field manual for grabs and box corers. In Field Manuals for Marine Sampling to Monitor Australian Waters, Version 2. Przeslawski R, Foster S (Eds). National Environmental Science Programme (NESP).