Research project: Circum-Australian Amphipod Project (CAAP)


Start date:

Museum investigators

  • Dr Jim Lowry , Principal Research Scientist
  • Dr Lauren Hughes , Postdoctoral Researcher

Funded by

  • Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA)


The aim of this project is to identify and describe the dominant shallow-water benthic amphipods for Australia. Focusing on 30 genera, the project has tracked the distribution of about 500 species around the coast of Australia. Museum collections have formed the basis for material identified. Field work has also taken place in remote, little-studied areas of Torres Strait, One Tree Island, Norfolk Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Christmas Island.

Working state by state, information gathered on species is reported directly to DEWHA to contribute to the Australian National Heritage Assessment Tool (ANHAT). Towards the end of the project, the large amount of data collected will be used to investigate the biogeographic patterns of Australia's amphipod biodiversity and its context to the broader Indo-Pacific fauna.

To date, the project has provided over 4,000 identifications of lodged museum specimens, cataloguing about 500 species. Through this work about 80 new species of amphipod have been identified, and team members are preparing papers to formally describe these taxa. This project forms an important foundation, supporting further studies in ecology and management of shallow-water ecosystems. Without taxonomy there is no biodiversity.

Dr Jim Lowry , Principal Research Scientist
Dr Lauren Hughes , Postdoctoral Researcher
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