The Fish Section's Research Associates are appointed in recognition of their contribution to the Section's research and collections.

Research Associates have increased access to the Fish Collection and Australian Museum facilities. The following people are currently Research Associates:

His Imperial Majesty Emperor Akihito of Japan

His Majesty Emperor Emeritus Akihito of Japan

Image: Imperial Household Agency
© Imperial Household Agency

Emperor Emeritus Akihito became an Australian Museum Honorary Associate in 1983 while he was the Crown Prince. He has always been very interested in natural history and conservation and has conducted research for many years on the taxonomy of gobioid fishes, a research interest he shares with Australian Museum Research Fellow Dr Doug Hoese.

Despite his numerous official duties, the Emperor Emeritus still manages to study fishes. He has published papers on Australian fishes and studied fishes from the Australian Museum fish collection.

Emperor Emeritus Akihito has received numerous awards and society memberships including the following:

  • 1980 - Foreign Member of the Linnean Society of London
  • 1985 - Honorary President of the Second International Conference on Indo-Pacific Fishes during which he presented a paper.
  • 1986 - Elected an Honorary Member of the Linnean Society of London
  • 1992 - Honorary Member of the Zoological Society of London
  • 1997 - Honorary Member of the Research Institute for Natural Science of Argentina
  • 1998 – The first recipient of the King Charles the Second Medal, which is awarded by the Royal Society of London to those heads of state who have made outstanding contribution to the advancement of science.

Research Interests

  • Gobioid fish taxonomy
  • Conservation

Research Publications

As a member of the Ichthyological Society of Japan, Emperor Emeritus Akihito published 38 papers between 1963 and 2003, many of which appear in the Society's journal (Ichthyological Research).

Related Links

Imperial Household Agency Homepage

Hiro, who is an Australian Museum Research Associate, and 3 of his students from the Kagoshima University Museum visited from 7 to 11 May 2012. He continued his research on scorpionfishes.

Dr Hiroyuki Motomura and students
Dr Hiroyuki Motomura and 7 students in the fish laboratory, 13 February 2017. From 13 to 17 February 2017, Hiroyuki Motomura (dark blue shirt, standing in photo), and 7 of his students from the Kagoshima University Museum examined many specimens in the fish collection. Hiro has visited on a number of previous occasions. He is an Australian Museum Research Associate and world expert on the scorpionfishes. The students and their taxa of research are as follows: Ayumi Bandai (back, centre) - Mullidae (goatfishes) Byeol Jeong (red shirt) - Soleidae (soles) Satokuni Tashiro (black shirt, seated) - Tripterygiidae (triplefins) Sirikanya Chungthanawong (back right) - Tetrarogidae (waspfishes) Tomohiro Yoshida (blue shirt)- Apogonidae (cardinalfishes) Tomoki Inaba (striped shirt) - Synanceiidae, Inimicus (stingerfishes) Yoshino Fukui (back, second from right) - Labridae (wrasses) Prior to their visit to the Australian Museum they examined fish specimens at the Western Australian Museum. After leaving the Australian Museum 5 students travelled to Brisbane to work at the Queensland Museum and two went to Darwin to work at the Northern Territory Museum. Image: Mark McGrouther
© Australia Museum

Hisashi Imamura is a Professor at Hokkaido University Faculty of Fisheries. His long-term research focuses on the fish families Platycephalidae, (Flatheads) and Hoplichthyidae, (Ghost Flatheads), he is considered the world expert on these groups.

Professor Imamura has mentored and facilitated many young Japanese Ichthyologists in the field of taxonomy and uses the Australian Museum Fish Collection extensively in his research and teaching, visiting the collection personally when he gets the opportunity.

Professor Hisashi Imamura

Professor Hisashi Imamura

Image: Mark McGrouther
© Mark McGrouther

Dr Hsuan-Ching (Hans) Ho works at the National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium, Taiwan.

Dr Ho researches fishes from the Order Lophiiformes, Anglerfish, in particular Ogcocephalidae, Deep-sea Batfishes and Lophiidae, Goosefishes as he is considered a world expert in these groups. He works on a wide range of taxa and has described many new species from Australian waters. Most recently he described Malthopsis mcgroutheri, McGrouther’s Triangular Batfish in honour of Mark McGrouther (former Ichthyology Collection Manager) for his great contribution in assisting our studies and his friendship.

Dr Ho has mentored and facilitated many young Ichthyologists in the field of taxonomy and not only uses the Australian Museum Fish Collection extensively in his research and teaching, but visits the collection personally when he gets the opportunity.

Dr Hsuan-Ching Hans Ho

Dr Hsuan-Ching (Hans) Ho

Image: Mark McGrouther
© Mark McGrouther

Kevin visited during February 2015 to examine clingfish specimens in the Australian Museum Ichthyology Collection.

He is an Assistant Professor of Ichthyology at Texas A&M University where he works on the taxonomy and systematics of clingfishes (Family Gobiesocidae).

Dr Kevin Conway
Kevin Conway examining a clingfish specimen in the ichthyology dry lab, 20 February 2015. Image: Mark McGrouther
© Australian Museum

Australian Museum Research Associate, Ken Graham is a specialist of the family Macrouridae, commonly known as Rattails.

Ken was former Captain 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 on FRV Kapala
Fisheries Research Officer, now Australian Museum Associate, Ken Graham working aboard the Fisheries Research Vessel Kapala in 1997. Image: John Matthews
© John Matthews

Tony is an Australian larval fish expert, being co-author of the book, Larvae of Temperate Australian FIshes.

Tony previously worked as an Environment Project Officer in the Environment and Health Division of Wollongong City Council.

Tony has visited many times over the years to examine specimens in the larval fish collection. Tony is now a Research Associate in the fish section and a valued member of the team, contiuing his larval fish identifications and contributing to many research projects.

Dr Tony Miskiewicz - 2018
Dr Tony Miskiewicz - 2018 Image: Mark McGrouther
© Mark McGrouther

Tony Gill is the Natural History Curator at the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney.

He worked in the Fish Section for three days beginning on 20 December 2010. During this time he examined cleared and stained specimens and worked on a paper on goby classification.

Dr Tony Gill
Dr Tony Gill in the ichthyology dry lab. Image: Mark McGrouther
© Australian Museum

Dr Barry Russell is Curator Emeritus at the Museum & Art Gallery of the Northern Territory in Darwin, where he was Curator of Fishes then later Head of Research & Collections, until his retirement in 2009. He commenced his career at the Australian Museum (1972-75) and has since maintained a close working relationship and frequently visited the Fish Section at the Australian Museum. He also is a Research Associate at Charles Darwin University, Darwin, as well as the Museum of Victoria, Melbourne, and presently is the Red List Authority Coordinator for the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's (IUCN) Species Survival Commission (SSC) Snapper, Seabream and Grunt Specialist Group, and a member of the IUCN Groupers and Wrasses Specialist Group.

Barry has had a long career as an ichthyologist, with over 40 years research experience on the systematics, ecology and behaviour of tropical demersal fishes of the Indo-West Pacific, and has published more than 150 papers on the taxonomy and ecology of fishes. His current research interests include the taxonomy and phylogenetics of lizardfishes (Synodontidae) and threadfin breams (Nemipteridae), and he is considered a world specialist in these groups. He also is completing a long-term research project on historic fish collections of the French ichthyologist Francis de Castelnau, including work at the AMS.

Dr Barry Russell

Dr Barry Russell - Research Associate Ichthyology 2022-present

Image: unknown
© AMS - Ichthyology

Chris Goatley is a research associate at the Australian Museum and a lecturer in marine biology at the University of Southampton.

Chris’ research aims to assess the functions, evolution and systematics of coral reef fishes. Working with the Fish Section, he is currently focussing on some of the smallest fishes in the sea, the gobies. Chris uses a combination of specialised collection techniques, micro-CT imaging and molecular tools to identify hidden diversity in this diverse and widespread group.

Recent fieldwork in the Coral Sea has begun to reveal several new species, including Tempestichthys bettyae (Betty’s ocean sleeper), a new genus and species in a family which previously had only been found in temperate marine ecosystems.

Dr Chris Goatley with his own fish: tiny but fascinating.
Dr Chris Goatley with his own fish: tiny but fascinating. Image: Matt Cawood
© UNE media

The holotype of Tempestichthys bettyae gen. et sp. nov. AMS I.50056-001
The holotype of Tempestichthys bettyae gen. et sp. nov. AMS I.50056-001 Image: Chris Goatley
© Chris Goatley

Graham Short is a research associate at the Australian Museum, as well as the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco and the Burke Museum in Seattle.

Dr Graham Short
Dr Graham Short examining seahorse specimens, 16 February 2017. Image: Mark McGrouther
© Australian Museum

As an Ichthyologist, Grahams research interests are focused on the phylogenetics, taxonomy, and systematics of fishes in the Syngnathidae family (seahorses, seadragons, pygmy pipehorses, and pipefish).

In pursuit of his interest Graham combines several lines of research which involves considerable field and lab work in collaboration with fellow international syngnathid researchers. This research includes:

  • Phylogenetic studies based on multi-gene and next generation sequencing to resolve the evolutionary relationships of these unique fishes at the generic and species level.
  • The collection of syngnathids via scuba and seining from Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific.
  • The description of new species of syngnathids based on genetics and morphology, the latter being examined by powerful CT scans to reveal novel diagnostic characters.

In 2018, Graham and his team described the new pygmy seahorse from Japan, Hippocampus japapigu, which has been featured online by National Geographic and the BBC. This seahorse has also been recognised by the World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) for Taxonomist Appreciation Day, and featured in the TOP 10 Marine Species of 2018.

In 2020, Graham and his team also described the first species of pygmy seahorse from Africa and the Indian Ocean, Hippocampus nalu. This seahorse was the eighth Pygmy seahorse to be discovered and is also featured online here at the Australian Museum and by National Geographic.

Hippocampus nalu

Hippocampus nalu from Sodwana Bay, South Africa.

Image: Richard Smith -
© Richard Smith -

Rohan Pett is an Australian Museum Research Associate. He is currently working with the collection staff of the Fish Section and pursuing his own research and editing projects.

The royalites from Rohan's 1991 book Freshwater fishes of Sri Lanka allowed him to endow a foundation, the Wildlife Heritage Trust (WHT). WHT published biodiversity-relevant books (more than 40 in all) and magazines on both Sri Lankan and foreign topics (e.g., Fishes of Laos). Between 1990 and the present, he worked with a team funded by WHT, to engage in extensive biodiversity exploration in Sri Lanka, leading to the discovery and description of some 50 new species of amphibians (descriptions of a further ~30 are in progress), 22 freshwater fish, 17 reptiles and 44 freshwater crabs (among smaller numbers of taxa from other groups, including mammals).

In 2000 he won the prestigious Rolex Award for Enterprise.

Read more about Rohan's achievements on Wikipedia.

Rohan Pett
Rohan Pett in the fish lab, 5 October 2017. Image: Mark McGrouther
© Australian Museum

Since his retirement in 2003 as Principal Research Scientist, after around 32 years with the NSW Fisheries Research Institute, and since his appointment as a Research Associate with the Department of Ichthyology at the Australian Museum, Dr Dave Pollard has mainly been working, as a member of various of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's (IUCN) Species Survival Commission (SSC) marine fish specialist groups (including the Groupers and Wrasses SG; the Snappers, Sea-breams and Grunts SG; the Sharks and Rays SG; and the Tunas and Billfishes SG), in the scientific assessment of the conservation/threat status of a wide variety of marine fish species belonging to these various taxonomic groups, particularly in relation to their potential inclusion in the IUCN's Red List (RL) of Threatened Species. This ongoing work has involved mainly species conservation assessments of various groupers (Epinephelidae), wrasses (Labridae) and sea-breams (Sparidae), as well as some work on sharks and rays (chondrichthyans), and also tunas (Scombridae) and puffer-fishes (Tetraodontidae). In addition to working on the global assessments for these specific taxonomic species groups, as part of this Red Listing work Dave has also been involved in regional RL assessments of the entire marine fish fauna of the Mediterranean Sea, and most recently that of the whole of Europe in general.

In addition to the above work Dave has also assisted in advising on threat assessments of both marine teleostean fishes and sharks and rays in northern New South Wales waters in relation to reports produced for the NSW Northern Rivers Catchment Management Authority (NRCMA); and he is also a regular reviewer of scientific papers on fish biology and ecology, and on marine protected areas and related marine conservation ecology topics, for several international scientific journals.

  • Dr Georgina Cooke
  • Dr Barry Goldman
  • Dr Walter W. Ivantsoff
  • Dr Patricia Kailola
  • Mr Katsusuke Meguro
  • Dr Jan Yde Poulsen
  • Mr Roger Steene