Richard Marchant

Dr Richard Marchant

Senior Curator, Entomology

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I am a stream ecologist with most interest in the ecology of benthic inverterbates, particulalrly aquatic insects. I have studied streams and rivers in many parts of Victoria, and southern NSW and have been a curator and senior curator at Museum Victoria since 1981.

These days I mostly conduct quantitative sampling of streams and rivers to understand population dynamics and secondary production of individual taxa e.g. caddisflies, or whole communities.

For many years I have also examined community composition of benthic fauna throughout Victoria, often in conjunction with colleagues at Vic EPA or Monash University. The aim of many of these studies was to characterise benthic diversity in different parts of the state and relate changes in diversity and composition to environmental gradients such as altitude, levels of salinity, composition of bed sediments, physical disturbance and various other predictors of change in the faunal composition.

I have been extensively involved in the development of statistical models that predict benthic composition at sites with given environmental characteristics. These models use benthic composition at reference sites  to predict what might be present at sites of interest that could be subject to pollution, building of dams, alteration of river discharge and several other man-made disturbances of riverine ecosystems.



PhD, The University of Adelaide

Key publications

R. Marchant and T. Grant (2015) The productivity of the macroinvertebrate prey of the platypus in the upper Shoalhaven River, New South Wales. Marine and Freshwater Research 66, 1128-1137.

R.Marchant, A.Hirst, R.H.Norris, R.Butcher, L.Metzeling and D.Tiller (1997). Classification and prediction of macroinvertebrate communities from running waters in Victoria, Australia. Journal of the North American Benthological Society 16, 664-681.

T.J. Doeg, P.S. Lake and R. Marchant (1989). Colonization of experimentally disturbed patches by stream invertebrates in the Acheron River, Victoria. Australian Journal of Ecology 14, 207-220.

R. Marchant, L. Metzeling, A. Graesser and P. Suter (1985). The organization of macroinvertebrate communities in the major tributaries of the La Trobe River, Victoria, Australia. Freshwater Biology 15, 315 33.

R. Marchant and H.B.N. Hynes (1981). The distribution and production of Gammarus pseudolimnaeus (Crustacea: Amphipoda) along a reach of the Credit River, Ontario. Freshwater Biology 11, 169 182.

Projects and events


I am currently the editor of the Memoirs of Museum Victoria. I am also an associate editor of Marine and Freshwater Research (CSIRO) and on the editorial board of Freshwater Biology (Wiley Blackwell).

I was the secretary of the Australian Society for Limnology for 30 years and the Australian Representative for the International Society of Limnology for 20 years.

Teaching and students

I have two current PhD students, one at La Trobe University and one at the University of Melbourne. I supervise these students jointly with colleagues at the universities.


M. Guppy, S. Guppy, R. Marchant, D. Priddel, N. Carlile, P. Fullagar (2017) Nest predation of woodland birds in south east Australia: importance of unexpected predators. Emu Austral Ornithology 117, 92-96. 

S. J. Nichols, L.A. Barmuta, B.C. Chessman, P. E. Davies, F. J. Dyer, E.T. Harrison, C.P. Hawkins, I. Jones, B.J. Kefford, S. Linke, R. Marchant, L. Metzeling, K. Moon, R.Ogden, M. Peat, T. B. Reynoldson and R. M. Thompson (2017) The imperative need for nationally coordinated bioassessment of rivers and streams. Marine and Freshwater Research 68, 599-613.

R. Marchant, S. Guppy and M. Guppy (2016) The influence of ENSO and rainfall on the numbers of breeding pairs in a woodland bird community from south-eastern Australia. Emu 116, 254-261.

P. Swiatek, B. J. Płachno, R. Marchant, S. Gorgon, M. Krodkiewska, K Małota, A. Z. Urbisz (2016) Germ-line cells do not form syncytial cysts in the ovaries of the basal clitellate annelid Capilloventer australis. Zoologischer Anzeiger 260, 63–71.

M. Klamt, J. A. Davis, R.M. Thompson, R. Marchant and T.R. Grant (2016) Trophic relationships of the platypus: insights from stable isotope and cheek pouch dietary analyses. Marine and Freshwater Research 67, 1196-1204.

R. Marchant and T. Grant (2015) The productivity of the macroinvertebrate prey of the platypus in the upper Shoalhaven River, New South Wales. Marine and Freshwater Research 66, 1128-1137.

R. Marchant and J. Dean (2014) A long-term study of the factors that influence compositional stability of stream invertebrates. Inland Waters 4, 113-120.

R. Marchant, B.J. Kefford, J. Wasley, C.K. King. J. Doube and D. Nugegoda (2011) Response of stream invertebrate communities to vegetation damage from overgrazing by exotic rabbits on subantarctic Macquarie Island. Marine and Freshwater Research 62, 404-413.

R. Schäfer, B. J. Kefford, L. Metzeling , M. Liess , S. Burgert , R. Marchant ,V. Pettigrove , P. Goonan , D. Nugegoda (2011) A trait database of stream invertebrates for the ecological risk assessment of single and combined effects of salinity and pesticides in South-East Australia. Science of the Total Environment 409, 2055–2063.

E. Turak, R. Marchant, L. A. Barmuta, J. Davis, S. Choy, and L. Metzeling (2011) River conservation in a changing world: invertebrate diversity and spatial prioritisation in south-eastern coastal Australia. Marine and Freshwater Research 62, 300-311.

B. J. Kefford , R. Marchant , R. B. Schäfer , L. Metzeling , J. E. Dunlop, S. C. Choy, and P. Goonan (2011) The definition of species richness used by species sensitivity distributions approximates observed effects of salinity on stream macroinvertebrates. Environmental Pollution 159, 302-310.

C. M.Yule, L. Boyero and R. Marchant (2010) Effects of sediment pollution on food webs in a tropical river (Borneo, Indonesia). Marine and Freshwater Research 61, 204–213.

A.S.Schultheis, R.Marchant and J.M.Hughes (2008) Contrasting patterns of genetic structure and disequilibrium in populations of a stone-cased caddisfly (Tasimiidae) from northern and southern Australia. Marine and Freshwater Research 59, 235-245.

R.Marchant (2007) The use of taxonomic distinctness to assess environmental disturbance of insect communities from running water. Freshwater Biology 52, 1634-1645.

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