Every year many scientists visit the Australian Museum for their research. The images below show some of the people who visited the Fish Section during 2023.

Dr Tony Miskiewicz is a weekly visitor to the fish shop where he continues his dedicated research on larval fishes.

Tony's main research interests include the systematics of larvae from temperate Australia and the distribution of fish larvae in estuarine and coastal waters. He is currently collaborating with Dr Sharon Appleyard from CSIRO Hobart on a project project called ‘Ethanol preserved eDNA (ep-eDNA) of larval fish assemblages’. As part of the project, they are focussing on the potential of non-destructive, ethanol preservative eDNA analyses for genetic species identifications of field sourced larval fish assemblages.

Tony is also working with fellow AMS fish staff member Kerryn Parkinson to describe and compare the morphology of newly hatched juveniles and ontogenetic changes with growth of three species of seahorses Hippocampus whitei, H. abdominalis and H. breviceps from south-eastern Australia.

Tony is a valued member of the team, contributing to many research projects, assisting students and continuing his larval fish identifications. We are very proud to have Tony as one of our Research Associates.

Dr Tony Miskiewicz
Dr Tony Miskiewicz - Research Associate - Ichthyology Image: Kerryn Parkinson
© Kerryn Parkinson

Courtney has become a regular in the fish section these past 12 months, spending her time looking at a genus of Goby fishes known as Gobiodon. A cute small Goby (less than 5cm) which creates its home specifically on certain species of coral. Courtney is a PhD candidate at the University of Wollongong and is focusing on how coral complexity is related to the evolution of sociality in this coral dwelling fish. During her research on the social relationships of these cute fish Courtney may have come across some new species. She is here to examine our collection of specimens, compare, contrast and take many measurements, even some x-rays.

Selma Klanten, Courtney Hilderbrandt and Catheline Froehlich
Selma Klanten, Courtney Hilderbrandt and Catheline Froehlich Image: Kerryn Parkinson
© Fish Section

Gobiodon spp
Gobiodon axillaris Image: Kerryn Parkinson
© Fish Section

Dr Sharon Appleyard from the CSIRO’s Australian National Fish Collection visited the Australian Museum’s Ichthyology Collection during Mon 23 Jan to Wed 25 Jan 2023 as part of collaborative research with Dr Tony Miskiewicz (AMS) and Dr Iain Suthers (UNSW). Sharon is working with Tony and Iain on a new CSIRO eDNA project called ‘Ethanol preserved eDNA (ep-eDNA) of larval fish assemblages’. As part of the project, Sharon is focussing on the potential of non-destructive, ethanol preservative eDNA analyses for genetic species identifications of field sourced larval fish assemblages. During her stay, Sharon actively and passively filtered a selection of the Ichthyology Collection’s ethanol fluids surrounding larval fish specimens. Filters were taken and on return to the CSIRO molecular labs, one of Sharon’s objectives is to extract the DNA captured on the filters. Sharon aims to test the impact that formalin fixation and ethanol preservation times and volumes; assemblage constituents; and the type of ethanol filtration has on the downstream identification of the larval fishes.

Dr Sharon Appleyard
Dr Sharon Appleyard CSIRO Jan 2023 Image: Kerryn Parkinson
© AMS Ichthyology

Younis Menkara completed his honours in Marine Science with Prof Simon Ho from the University of Sydney and Dr Tony Gill from the Chau Chak Wing Museum and the Australian Museum Fish section. Younis work focused on the taxonomic revision of Acanthistius ocellatus, the Eastern Wirrah and potentially redescribing Acanthistius paxtoni, the Orangelined Wirrah.

The Eastern Wirrah – nicknamed ‘Old Boot’ due to its poor table quality – is a shallow to deep water rock cod that is commonly encountered by anglers and divers. The Orangelined Wirrah is a species that is known to exist from only two specimens, both collected and described in 1982.

Using morphological and molecular evidence from both species, Younis aimed to better understand the taxonomy of the species and their relationships with each other. It is suspected that A.paxtoni is not as rare as once thought and are being misidentified as A.ocellatus.

Younis completed his honours with exceptional grades and hopes to continues his study of the Eastern Wirrah with an PhD in 2023.

Younis Menkara
Younis Menkara Honours student Ichthyology July 2022 Image: Kerryn Parkinson
© Kerryn Parkinson

Dr Tony Gill is a regular visitor to the fish shop here at the Australian Museum where he continues his prolific work on dottybacks, basslets and gobies and happily assists in any collection related queries and identifications.

Tony has been associated with the fish section of the Australian Museum for over 40 years, beginning with a student internship in 1981. After receiving his PhD from the University of New England in 1991, based on research conducted at the Museum, Tony was later a Smithsonian Postdoctoral Fellow in the National Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C. and Lerner-Gray Research Fellow in the American Museum of Natural History, New York.

Tony then moved to London where he was shallow marine fish researcher at the Natural History Museum, London, followed by museum curator in the School of Life Sciences and assistant director for collections in the International Institute for Species Exploration, Arizona State University.

After returning to Australia in 2010 to take up the role of Natural History Curator at the Macleay Museum (now Macleay Collections, Chau Chak Wing Museum), Tony continued his research interests on the systematics and biogeography of Indo-Pacific fishes (particularly dottybacks, gobies and basslets), on the anatomy and classification of spiny-finned fishes, and on the history of natural history collections. Most recently, his research has concentrated on the systematics of Australian basslets (Anthiadinae).

We are very proud to call Tony a research associate of the fish section and look forward to seeing him more this year.

Dr Tony Dill 2023
Dr Tony Gill February 2023 Image: Kerryn Parkinson
© Kerryn Parkinson

Ken Graham is a weekly visitor to the fish shop here at the Australian Museum where he continues his dedicated research into many many deep sea fish families specifically the family Macrouridae, commonly known as Rattails.

Ken was former scientific officer of the Fisheries Research vessel Kapala and is now a Research Associate in the fish section. Ken continues his fish identifications on many and varied families and contributing to many research projects and is a valued member of the fish team.

Ken Graham
Ken Graham holding two specimens of Spectrunculus grandis Image: unknown
© Ken Graham

Ken is currently identifying and collecting data on fishes from the family Ogcocephalidae, otherwise known as Batfishes.

Halieutaea brevicauda AMS E.2972
Halieutaea brevicauda AMS E.2972 Image: Mark Allen
© Ichthyology