11th International Polychaete Conference, 2013

Prior to the conference, three workshops were held, The Philosophy of Biological Systematics run by Dr Kirk Fitzhugh (Los Angeles County Museum); Identification of Invasive Polychaetes run by Drs Elena Kupriyanova and Pat Hutchings with much assistance from Drs Maria Capa, Leslie Harris, Waka Sato-Okoshi, Harry ten Hove, Vasily Radashevsky, Carol Simon and Robin Wilson; and one on Microscope Photography and Preparation of Material for Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) run by Sue Lindsey of the Australian Museum. The digital guide to Invasive Polychaetes was road tested during the workshop and is now available for sale.

The Polychaete Conference was held from Monday 4th to 9th August at the Australian Museum. Over 100 papers and 110 posters were presented with 150+ delegates from 26 countries represented. Four plenary papers were given by Drs Damhnait McHugh, Pei-Yuan Qian, James Gehling, and Günter Purschke. Many of these talks and posters have been submitted to Memoirs of the Museum of Victoria and this will appear online around mid 2014.

An important feature of this conference was the large number of students and early career researchers. many from developing countries, who attended, in part due to funding received from CSIRO and the Australian Museum. Their participation will hopefully ensure the ongoing interest in polychaete research around the world.

Immediately after the conference a two week taxonomic workshop supported by the Lizard Island Research Foundation was held at Lizard Island Research Station, a facility of the Australian Museum on the Great Barrier Reef. This workshop was attended by 15 researchers from seven countries as well as a dedicated photographer and extensive collections of polychaetes were made around the island and on the outer barrier reef. Hopefully everybody will produce at least one paper describing new species and records of selected polychaete families. All these papers will be published in 2015 in a special issue of Zootaxa. This information with photos of live animals will be uploaded onto the Lizard Island Field Guide.

In addition to all these activities many of the delegates took the opportunity to visit the extensive Australian Museum polychaete collections in order to examine as well as to borrow material for their research. We anticipate that this expand our knowledge of Australian polychaetes, including the description of new species.

The organising committee chaired by Dr Pat Hutchings and consisting of Lynda Avery, Maria Capa, Chris Glasby, Elena Kupriyanova, Anna Murray, Hannelore Paxton, Charlotte Watson, Lexie Walker, Robin Wilson would like to thank all the sponsors of the conference and the workshops who made this conference and associated workshops such a success.

The next International Polychaete Conference will take place in Cardiff, Wales in 2016 with Dr Andy Mackie as the chair of the Organising Committee.


Australian Museum scientists studying polychaetes

  • Dr Pat Hutchings
  • Dr Elena Kupriyanova