What's on: 2013 International Polychaete Conference
We're hosting the 11th International Polychaete (seaworms) Conference, thirty years after hosting the first one.
- Event Type:
- Special event
- 4 August 2013 to 9 August 2013
- Australian Museum, entry via William Street
For the most up-to-date information, including registration and program details, visit:
One may ask, why is the Australian Museum sponsoring such a conference? This is because we have one of the largest polychaete collections in the world, two leading international polychaete workers on our staff and we attract many visiting scientists who come here to examine our collections.
The conference will include:
- Presentations of papers on the ecology, reproduction, phylogeny and evolution of worms as well as a series of posters describing new species of worms.
- A photographic exhibition highlighting the beauty and diversity of this group of animals.
- A photographic workshop on how to photograph these diverse worms.
- A two-day identification workshop for consultants, fisheries and quarantine officers (prior to the week-long conference) to learn how to distinguish introduced marine pests from native worm species.
In 1983 over ninety people came from all over the world and we are expecting one hundred and fifty in 2013 with many countries represented.
Over 20,000 described species of seaworms are known and many more remain to be described. They are one of the most abundant and diverse group of animals in benthic communities and play a critical role in marine ecosystems. They occur from the intertidal to the deepest oceans from the marine to estuarine environments with a few species penetrating into freshwater.
They range in size from microscopic to several metres in length and they occupy many different types of habitats, infauna, epifaunal, encrusting pelagic and some are even parasitic.
In the last thirty years we have considerably enhanced our knowledge about these animals which are commonly referred to as seaworms, and especially Australian species. Increasingly people are using both molecular and morphological techniques to document the fauna and to understand the relationships between the various groups of worms and where they came from. These segmented seaworms are now known to be far more closely related to molluscs than to the arthropods.