The Australian Biological Resources Study Churchill Fellowship to advance Australian taxonomic research by integrating genomics and micro-CT with traditional techniques

Austria
Germany
Sweden
United Kingdom
Professions
The Australian Biological Resources Study Churchill Fellowship to advance Australian taxonomic research by integrating genomics and micro-CT with traditional techniques featured image

Jane Melville travelled to Austria, Germany, Sweden, and the United Kingdom to advance Australian taxonomic research by integrating genomics and micro-CT with traditional techniques. Her project goal was to visit natural history collections in Europe that hold Diporiphora primary types to examine specimens and organise micro x-ray CT scanning and to spend time at the Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin, to work with Professor Dr. Johannes Müller to learn micro x-ray CT scanning techniques and analyses. Lessons learned:


  • Examination of type specimens at the natural history museum provided essential information for unravelling taxonomic problems, particularly concerning type materials collected from Cape York. Confusions over these materials, held in London and Vienna, were greatly clarified with examination of the specimens, original species descriptions and original catalogue entries held at the museums. This emphasises the importance of researching the historical documentation along-side our current knowledge of species diversity to unravel problems with taxonomic nomenclature.
  • How powerful a tool micro CT-scanning is for examining minute differences in cranial and skeletal osteology without damaging precious museum specimens. Even historic type specimens can be scanned without damage.
  • The importance of following potential opportunities when they arise unexpectedly. Being based for a month in Berlin, and contacting international colleagues who were nearby, Jane was able to meet with them, allowing discussions about new analytical approaches for this project and future collaborations.
  • Not limiting this project to just extant species but extending it to incorporate the fossil record. The data collected in Berlin will not only provide important information for understanding the diversity of current species but can also provide baseline data for interpreting past lizard diversity through the fossil record, an area that has received very little attention in Australia.

Fellow

Jane Melville

Jane Melville

VIC
2015

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