Robin Wilson

Dr Robin Wilson

Senior Curator, Marine Invertebrates

About me

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My principal research interest is the systematics and diversity of marine segmented worms  or polychaetes, more correctly known as Annelida. This interest has been driven by the dominant role annelids have in marine environments, where they are often more abundant and comprise more species than any other kind of marine invertebrate.  For these  the simple but vital task of identification – being able to recognise a species each time we see it – is not so simple, especially in Australia where there are so many species are yet to be described. 

Therefore, my research has a taxonomic focus: on describing species, but also on making identification guides, so that others can also identify marine annelids more easily and more accurately. 

In 2003, colleagues and I published Polychaetes, a CD allowing interactive identification of all polychaete families and genera world-wide and all 1,200 Australian polychaete species. Recent taxonomic discoveries mean that many updates are required and I am now working on making those revised identification keys available online. 

The abundance of marine annelids have resulted in many collaborations. These include environmental studies of Port Phillip Bay where annelid data was important in modelling nutrient flows in the Bay and investigations of regional diversity patterns on Australia’s western continental margin, in Bass Strait and in the deep Great Australian Bight. These surveys have resulted in many discoveries and continuing taxonomic research, especially on scale worms (Polynoidae and related families).

Qualifications

PhD, Monash University, Melbourne, 1992

Key publications

Woolley, S.N.C., McCallum, A.W., Wilson, R., O’Hara, T.D. & Dunstan, P.K. 2013. Fathom out: biogeographical subdivision across the Western Australian continental margin – a multispecies modelling approach. Diversity and Distributions 19, 1506–1517. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ddi.12119

Wilson, R.S., Norman, M.D. & Syme, A. 2007. An Introduction to Marine Life. Museum Victoria, Melbourne. http://trove.nla.gov.au/version/44678597

Bakken, T. & Wilson, R.S. 2005. Phylogeny of nereidids (Polychaeta, Nereididae) with paragnaths. Zoologica Scripta 34, 507–547. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1463-6409.2005.00200.x

Wilson, R.S., Hutchings, P.A. & Glasby, C.J. 2003. Polychaetes - An interactive identification guide. CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne. http://trove.nla.gov.au/version/46532196

Wilson, R.S., Heislers, S. & Poore, G.C.B. (1998) Changes in benthic communities of Port Phillip Bay, Australia, between 1969 and 1995. Marine and Freshwater Research 49, 847–861. https://doi.org/10.1071/MF97164

Links

Projects and events

Current honorary appointments

Honorary Research Fellow, Department of Zoology/School of Biosciences, The University of Melbourne

Editor, World Register of Marine Species

Editor, Australian Faunal Directory

Curator, The Encyclopedia of Life

Past honorary appointments

President, Society of Australian Systematic Biologists, 2000-2001

Vice-President, Society of Australian Systematic Biologists, 1999-2000

Australian Biological Resources Study Scientific Advisory Committee, 2007-2014 

Exhibitions

Darwin to DNA, exhibition briefs and content, Melbourne Museum, 2001

Science Arcade, exhibition briefs and content, Melbourne Museum, 2001

Major projects

Joint investigator, Patterns of diversity on the continental margin of Australia Commonwealth Environment Research Facilities (CERF) Marine Biodiversity Hub, 2007-2010

Joint investigator, marine introduced species research, Natural Heritage Trust, 2005-2008

Interactive identification guide to polychaete fauna from major marine environmental surveys in southeastern Australia, Australian Biological Resources Study and NSW Environmental Council grants, 1995-1997

Preparation of treatments of 17 polychaete families for Volume 4 of the Fauna of Australia, Australian Biological Resources Study, 1994-1995

Benthic survey; Review of role of benthic filter and deposit feeders in Port Phillip Bay, CSIRO Port Phillip Bay Environmental Study, 1993-1994

Taxonomic revision of Phyllodocidae (Polychaeta), Australian Biological Resources Study Grant, 1986-1987

Bass Strait Survey, Research assistant, Museum Victoria.  1981-1986       

Teaching and students

I'm available for student supervision.

Undergraduate teaching

Evolution and Advanced Invertebrate Biology units and undergraduate  research projects at The University of Melbourne, 1998-present

Past students

Skipton Woolley, MSc, The University of Melbourne, 2011

Elizabeth Dane, BSc(Hons), The University of Melbourne, 2008

Melissa Kulinski, BSc(Hons), The University of Melbourne, 2006

Katrina Lee, BSc(Hons), The University of Melbourne, 2005

Huon McDiarmid, BSc(Hons), The University of Melbourne, 2001

Timothy O'Hara, PhD, The University of Melbourne, 2001

Matt McArthur, BSc(Hons), Victoria University of Technology, 1997

Publications

Wilson, R.S. & Greaves, E. 2016. Clavadoce (Annelida: Phyllodocidae) from Australia. Zootaxa 4061, 61–67.

Poore, G.B., Avery, L., Błażewicz-Paszkowycz, M., Browne, J., Bruce, N., Gerken, S., Glasby, C., Greaves, E., McCallum, A., Staples, D., Syme, A., Taylor, J., Walker-Smith, G., Warne, M., Watson, C., Williams, A., Wilson, R. & Woolley, S. 2015. Invertebrate diversity of the unexplored marine western margin of Australia: taxonomy and implications for global biodiversity. Marine Biodiversity 45, 271–286.

Connolly, S.R., MacNeil, M.A., Caley, M.J., Knowlton, N., Cripps, E., Hisano, M., Thibaut, L.M., Bhattacharya, B.D., Benedetti-Cecchi, L., Brainard, R.E., Brandt, A., Bulleri, F., Ellingsen, K.E., Kaiser, S., Kröncke, I., Linse, K., Maggi, E., O’Hara, T.D., Plaisance, L., Poore, G.C.B., Sarkar, S.K., Satpathy, K.K., Schückel, U., Williams, A. & Wilson, R.S. 2014. Commonness and rarity in the marine biosphere. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 111, 8524–8529.

McCallum, A.W., Woolley, S., Błażewicz-Paszkowycz, M., Browne, J., Gerken, S., Kloser, R., Poore, G.C.B., Staples, D., Syme, A., Taylor, J., Walker-Smith, G., Williams, A. & Wilson, R.S. 2014. Productivity enhances benthic species richness along an oligotrophic Indian Ocean continental margin. Global ecology and Biogeography 24, 462–471.

Woolley, S.N.C., McCallum, A.W., Wilson, R., O’Hara, T.D. & Dunstan, P.K. 2013. Fathom out: biogeographical subdivision across the Western Australian continental margin – a multispecies modelling approach. Diversity and Distributions 19, 1506–1517.

Wilson, R.S. 2012. Taxonomic toolkit for marine life of Port Phillip Bay - worms [http://portphillipmarinelife.net.au/search?searchType=Identify&searchText=12]. Available from: http://portphillipmarinelife.net.au/search?searchType=Identify&searchText=12 (January 1, 2013).

Glasby, C.J., Wilson, R.S. & Bakken, T. 2011. Redescription of the Indo-Pacific polychaete Neanthes pachychaeta (Fauvel, 1918) n. comb. (Annelida, Phyllodocida, Nereididae) and its synonyms. Zoosystema 33, 361–376.

Greaves, E., Meißner, K. & Wilson, R.S. 2011. New Laonice species (Polychaeta: Spionidae) from western and northern Australia. Zootaxa 2903, 1–20.

O’Hara, T.D., Gledhill, D., Butler, A.J., Bax, N., Wilson, R.S., Poore, G.C.B., McCallum, A.W., Last, P., England, P.C. & Andreakis, N. 2011. Report on application of evolutionary history to inform how species and/or communities might respond to changes in climate. CERF Marine Biodiversity Hub, Hobart.

Wilson, R.S., Dittmann, S. & Ross, J. 2011. Intertidal and subtidal sediments. In: M. J. Keough and R. Bathgate (Eds), Understanding the Western Port Environment. The Government of Victoria, Port Phillip and Westernport CMA, and Melbourne Water, Melbourne, pp. 94–105.

Woolley, S. & Wilson, R.S. 2011. Two new species of Eulepethidae (Polychaeta) from Australian seas. Zootaxa 2839, 47–66.

Wilson, R.S. 2010. Marine biodiversity studies by Clarrie Handreck and the Marine Research Group. Victorian Naturalist 127, 224–227.

Avery, L., Ramey, P.A. & Wilson, R.S. 2009. New Polygordiidae (Polychaeta) from the Australian region. Zootaxa 2068, 59–68.

Bakken, T., Glasby, C.J. & Wilson, R.S. 2009. A review of paragnath morphology in Nereididae (Polychaeta). Zoosymposia 2, 305–316.

Wilson, R.S. 2008. Polychaete discoveries on the continental margin of Australia. Newsletter of the CERF Marine Biodiversity Hub December 2008.

Wilson, R.S., Norman, M.D. & Syme, A. 2007. An Introduction to Marine Life. Museum Victoria, Melbourne.

Birch, W.D., Coventry, A.J., Dixon, J., Field, R., Gomon, M.F., McPhee, C., Marchant, R., Melville, J., Norman, M.D., O’Brien, R., O’Hara, T., Phillips, K., Poore, G.C.B., Raadik, T., ROwley, C., Staples, D.A., Wilson, R.S., Winsor, L. & Yen, A. 2006. Melbourne’s Wildlife. A field guide to the fauna of Greater Melbourne. Museum Victoria and CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne.

Wilson, G.D.F. 2006a. Arafura Sea Biological Survey. Report on R/V Southern Surveyor Expedition 05/2005 28 April - 28 May 2005. Department of the Environment and Heritage-Marine Division and Australian Museum, Sydney.

Wilson, G.D.F., Ahyong, S.T., Alderslade, P., Arango, C., Capa, M., Glasby, C.J., Gerken, S., Hutchings, P.A., Larson, H., Murray, A., O’Hara, T.D., Ponder, W.F., Springthorpe, R., Stoddart, H.E., Willan, R.C. & Wilson, R.S. 2006. Taxonomic Results. Arafura Sea Biological Survey, Report on Benthic Fauna collected during R/V Southern Surveyor Voyage 05-2005 (30 April - 28 May 2005). Department of the Environment and Heritage-Marine Division and Australian Museum, Sydney.

Wilson, R.S. 2006b. Marine worms. In: Museum Victoria (Ed), Melbourne’s Wildlife.  A field guide to the fauna of Greater Melbourne. Museum Victoria and CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne, pp. 262–266.

Bakken, T. & Wilson, R.S. 2005. Phylogeny of nereidids (Polychaeta, Nereididae) with paragnaths. Zoologica Scripta 34, 507–547.

Hewitt, C.L., Campbell, M.L., Thresher, R.E., Martin, R.B., Boyd, S., Cohen, B.F., Currie, D.R., Gomon, M.F., Keough, M.J., Lewis, J.A., Lockett, M.M., Mays, N., McArthur, M.A., O’Hara, T.D., Poore, G.C.B., Ross, D.J., Storey, M.J., Watson, J.E. & Wilson, R.S. 2004. Introduced and cryptogenic species in Port Phillip Bay, Victoria, Australia. Marine Biology 144, 183–202.

Wilson, R.S., Hutchings, P.A. & Glasby, C.J. 2003. Polychaetes - An interactive identification guide  [CD-ROM]. CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne.

Wilson, R.S. & Humphreys, W.F. 2001. Prionospio thalanji sp. nov. (Polychaeta: Spionidae) from an anchialine cave, Cape Range, north-west Western Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum Supplement 64, 105–113.

Glasby, C.J., Hutchings, P.A. & Wilson, R.S. 2000. Class Polychaeta: Biogeography. In: P. L. Beesley, G. J. B. Ross, and C. J. Glasby (Eds), Polychaetes and Allies: the Southern Synthesis. CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne, pp. 39–43.

Hutchings, P.A., Wilson, R.S., Glasby, C.J., Paxton, H. & Watson Russell, C. 2000. Appendix 1. In: P. L. Beesley, G. J. B. Ross, and C. J. Glasby (Eds), Polychaetes and Allies: the Southern Synthesis. CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne, pp. 242–243.

Wilson, R.S. 2000a. Family Alciopidae. In: P. L. Beesley, G. J. B. Ross, and C. J. Glasby (Eds), Polychaetes and Allies: the Southern Synthesis. CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne, pp. 115–117.

Wilson, R.S. 2000b. Family Apistobranchidae. In: P. L. Beesley, G. J. B. Ross, and C. J. Glasby (Eds), Polychaetes and Allies: the Southern Synthesis. CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne, pp. 190–191.

Wilson, R.S. 2000c. Family Chaetopteridae. In: P. L. Beesley, G. J. B. Ross, and C. J. Glasby (Eds), Polychaetes and Allies: the Southern Synthesis. CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne, pp. 191–193.

Wilson, R.S. 2000d. Family Glyceridae. In: P. L. Beesley, G. J. B. Ross, and C. J. Glasby (Eds), Polychaetes and Allies: the Southern Synthesis. CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne, pp. 127–129.

Wilson, R.S. 2000e. Family Goniadidae. In: P. L. Beesley, G. J. B. Ross, and C. J. Glasby (Eds), Polychaetes and Allies: the Southern Synthesis. CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne, pp. 129–131.

Wilson, R.S. 2000f. Family Hesionidae. In: P. L. Beesley, G. J. B. Ross, and C. J. Glasby (Eds), Polychaetes and Allies: the Southern Synthesis. CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne, pp. 131–133.

Wilson, R.S. 2000g. Family Iospilidae. In: P. L. Beesley, G. J. B. Ross, and C. J. Glasby (Eds), Polychaetes and Allies: the Southern Synthesis. CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne, pp. 133–134.

Wilson, R.S. 2000h. Family Lacydoniidae. In: P. L. Beesley, G. J. B. Ross, and C. J. Glasby (Eds), Polychaetes and Allies: the Southern Synthesis. CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne, pp. 134.

Wilson, R.S. 2000i. Family Longosomatidae. In: P. L. Beesley, G. J. B. Ross, and C. J. Glasby (Eds), Polychaetes and Allies: the Southern Synthesis. CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne, pp. 193–194.

Wilson, R.S. 2000j. Family Lopadorhynchidae. In: P. L. Beesley, G. J. B. Ross, and C. J. Glasby (Eds), Polychaetes and Allies: the Southern Synthesis. CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne, pp. 134–136.

Wilson, R.S. 2000k. Family Magelonidae. In: P. L. Beesley, G. J. B. Ross, and C. J. Glasby (Eds), Polychaetes and Allies: the Southern Synthesis. CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne, pp. 194–195.

Wilson, R.S. 2000l. Family Nephtyidae. In: P. L. Beesley, G. J. B. Ross, and C. J. Glasby (Eds), Polychaetes and Allies: the Southern Synthesis. CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne, pp. 136–137.

Wilson, R.S. 2000m. Family Nereididae. In: P. L. Beesley, G. J. B. Ross, and C. J. Glasby (Eds), Polychaetes and Allies: the Southern Synthesis. CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne, pp. 138–141.

Wilson, R.S. 2000n. Family Paralacydoniidae. In: P. L. Beesley, G. J. B. Ross, and C. J. Glasby (Eds), Polychaetes and Allies: the Southern Synthesis. CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne, pp. 141–143.

Wilson, R.S. 2000o. Family Phyllodocidae. In: P. L. Beesley, G. J. B. Ross, and C. J. Glasby (Eds), Polychaetes and Allies: the Southern Synthesis. CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne, pp. 145–148.

Wilson, R.S. 2000p. Family Poecilochaetidae. In: P. L. Beesley, G. J. B. Ross, and C. J. Glasby (Eds), Polychaetes and Allies: the Southern Synthesis. CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne, pp. 195–197.

Wilson, R.S. 2000q. Family Pontodoridae. In: P. L. Beesley, G. J. B. Ross, and C. J. Glasby (Eds), Polychaetes and Allies: the Southern Synthesis. CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne, pp. 157.

Wilson, R.S. 2000r. Family Psammodrilidae. In: P. L. Beesley, G. J. B. Ross, and C. J. Glasby (Eds), Polychaetes and Allies: the Southern Synthesis. CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne, pp. 241.

Wilson, R.S. 2000s. Family Sphaerodoridae. In: P. L. Beesley, G. J. B. Ross, and C. J. Glasby (Eds), Polychaetes and Allies: the Southern Synthesis. CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne, pp. 160–161.

Wilson, R.S. 2000t. Family Spionidae. In: P. L. Beesley, G. J. B. Ross, and C. J. Glasby (Eds), Polychaetes and Allies: the Southern Synthesis. CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne, pp. 197–200.

Wilson, R.S. 2000u. Family Tomopteridae. In: P. L. Beesley, G. J. B. Ross, and C. J. Glasby (Eds), Polychaetes and Allies: the Southern Synthesis. CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne, pp. 167–168.

Wilson, R.S. 2000v. Family Trochochaetidae. In: P. L. Beesley, G. J. B. Ross, and C. J. Glasby (Eds), Polychaetes and Allies: the Southern Synthesis. CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne, pp. 200–201.

Wilson, R.S. 2000w. Family Typhloscolecidae. In: P. L. Beesley, G. J. B. Ross, and C. J. Glasby (Eds), Polychaetes and Allies: the Southern Synthesis. CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne, pp. 168–169.

Wilson, R.S. 1999. Annelida: Polychaeta of Port Phillip bay. Centre for Research on Introduced Marine Pests Technical Report 20, 108–128.

Wilson, R.S., Heislers, S. & Poore, G.C.B. 1998. Changes in benthic communities of Port Phillip Bay, Australia, between 1969 and 1995. Marine and Freshwater Research 49, 847–861.

Gray, J.S., Poore, G.C.B., Ugland, K.I., Wilson, R.S., Olsgard, F. & Johannessen, O. 1997. Coastal and deep-sea benthic diversities compared. Marine Ecology Progress Series 159, 97–103.

Wilson, R.S., Heislers, S. & Poore, G.C.B. 1996a. Changes in Port Phillip Bay benthic communities, 1969-1995. Port Phillip Bay Environmental Study Technical Report, CSIRO 29, 1–50.

Wilson, R.S., Heislers, S. & Poore, G.C.B. 1996b. Changes in Port Phillip Bay benthic invertebrate communities 1969-1995. CSIRO, Port Phillip Bay Environmental Study Technical Report 29, 1–34.

Wilson, R.S., Marchant, R. & McCardle, I. 1996c. Monitoring marine intertidal communities in Port Hedland harbour, northwestern Australia.

Wilson, R.S. 1993. Systematics of the Perinereis nuntia complex (Polychaeta: Nereididae) in South-eastern Australia. Records of the Australian Museum 45, 241–252.

Wilson, R.S., Cohen, B.F. & Poore, G.C.B. 1993. The role of suspension-feeding and deposit-feeding benthic macroinvertebrates in nutrient cycling in Port Phillip Bay. CSIRO, Port Phillip Bay Environmental Study Technical Report 10, 1–41.

Wilson, R.S. & Glasby, C.J. 1993. A revision of the Perinereis nuntia species group (Polychaeta: Nerididae). Records of the Australian Museum 45, 253–277.

Hutchings, P.A., Reid, A. & Wilson, R.S. 1991. Perinereis from Australia (Polychaeta, Nereididae) from Australia, with redescriptions of six additional species. Records of the Australian Museum 43, 241–274.

Wilson, R.S. 1990. Prionospio and Paraprionospio (Polychaeta: Spionidae) from southern Australia. Memoirs of the Museum of Victoria 50, 243–274.

Wilson, R.S., Poore, G.C.B. & Gomon, M.F. 1990. Marine habitats at Wilsons Promontory and the Bunurong coast, Victoria: report on a survey, 1982. Marine Science Laboratories Technical Report 73, 1–37.

Wilson, R.S. 1988a. A Review of Eteone Savigny, 1820, Mysta Malmgren, 1865 and Hypereteone Bergström, 1914 (Polychaeta: Phyllodocidae). Memoirs of the Museum of Victoria 49, 385–431.

Wilson, R.S. 1988b. Synonymy of the genus Nectoneanthes Imajima, 1972, with Neanthes Kinberg, 1866 (Polychaeta: Nereididae). Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 101, 4–10.

Wilson, R.S. 1987. Book review: Proceedings of the First International Polychaete Conference, Sydney, Australia, July 1983. Australian Journal of Ecology 12, 207–208.

Wilson, R.S. & Poore, G.C.B. 1987. The Bass Strait survey: biological sampling stations, 1979-1984. Occasional Papers from the Museum of Victoria 3, 1–14.

Poore, G.C.B., Wilson, R.S., Gomon, M. & Lu, C.C. 1985. Museum of Victoria Bass Strait Survey, 1979-1984. Museum of Victoria, Melbourne.

Wilson, R.S. 1985. Nereis and Platynereis (Polychaeta: Nereididae) from Victoria with description of a new species of Nereis. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Victoria 97, 129–138.

Wilson, R.S. 1984. Neanthes (Polychaeta: Nereididae) from Victoria with descriptions of two new species. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Victoria 96, 209–226.

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