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Soft coral science with Kirrily Moore

  • 17 Aug 2023
  • 10:30 AM - 11:30 AM
  • Central Gallery, TMAG
  • 42


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Soft coral science with Kirrily Moore 

Kirrily Moore says, Why did I, the TMAG invertebrate collection manager, end up on the 2022 voyage to the Gasgoyne Marine Park in northern Western Australia? The voyage was designed to map some of the continental shelf, collect and analyse video footage and collect examples of the diverse and understudied animals living deep in the water column and on the sea floor. One of my jobs on a voyage involves being able to answer questions such as ‘is this a sponge or a rock?’ or ‘is this an animal or an intestine?’ or ‘which is the head?’ These are all real questions! We had to sort the pile of things which come up in a trawl, label them something useful and preserve them in the best way. Knowing how to do this is largely something learnt over time and often involves seeing amazing surprises and delightful mysteries. My job was also to try to identify soft corals on the voyage, luckily in the deep-sea there is a degree of consistency in the species we see across vast distances, but I also saw many unfamiliar species. 

This talk will outline how I became a benthic marine invertebrate generalist, why we need one and why they’re getting hard to find, plus share with you my love of soft coral taxonomy. 


Kirrily Moore has been the TMAG invertebrate collection manager for nearly 16 years. She is based at the TMAG Collections and Research Facility and is responsible for sorting, identifying, labelling and databasing invertebrates coming into the collection, looking after the specimens already in the collection and, sending and receiving specimens on loan to other institutions all around the world. 

Kirrily is a benthic marine invertebrate generalist and a deep-sea coral taxonomist, which has meant she has described a new family, two new genera, two new sub-genera and 10 new species of soft corals. She has also worked at the Australian Antarctic Division sorting benthic invertebrates from Heard Island, and at CSIRO and Aquenal Pty Ltd sorting marine invertebrates from port surveys looking for introduced marine species.

This is a FREE EVENT and you are welcome to bring non-member friends.

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