A diver looking at a common seadragon

Biodiversity and the Environment

Help us to undertake vital research, conservation and education programs to protect the biodiversity of our living planet to ensure a thriving future.


Tackling some of the most pressing environmental issues of our time, Museums Victoria is home to one of Australia’s leading museum-based research programs.

Our scientific research and collections play a critical role in driving conservation strategies, education programs and exhibitions that inform understanding of the changing environment and the long-term protection and recovery of Australia’s endangered species.

Our natural science collection of over 16 million specimens supports researchers and scientists in measuring environmental change and biodiversity-loss, and changes induced by human activities such as land clearing, the introduction of species and diseases, pollution and rapid climate change, and non-sustainable harvesting practices such as over-fishing.

Working in collaboration with Federal and State governments, Traditional Owners and leading universities, corporate and community partners world-wide, our research includes: conservation of threatened species, mapping wildlife diseases, evolutionary biology, mapping biodiversity and population genetics.

The initiatives outlined below provide an example of future projects we aspire to deliver with your support.

eDNA Project: Saving an Endangered (and Elusive) Species ​

The endangered Australasian Bittern is distributed across Australia, New Zealand and select Pacific islands. Habitat loss has led to declining populations of the species within Australia, landing it in the Australian Government’s top 20 birds in urgent need for species recovery. Highly camouflaged and cryptic in their behaviour, monitoring and detecting the Australasian Bittern in the wild is challenging, yet critical to understanding their use of habitat and the animal communities of which they are a part.

This project will engage new environmental DNA technology (eDNA) to collect water samples from suspected habitats, and use genetic sequencing to detect the presence of Australasian Bitterns and other species. Applying eDNA monitoring has the potential to improve conservation management for this rare species.

Raising Leviathan: Uncovering Bayside’s Prehistoric Whale

A 5-million-year-old fossil skeleton of an extinct killer sperm whale has been found in Melbourne’s Bayside suburb of Beaumaris. Its teeth and skullbones hint that it is a species new to science, unlike anything previously found. This extraordinary specimen could provide vital new information to inform how we protect whales and their environment, in the future. With your help, we will extract this ancient whale to unearth its secrets and share them with the world.

Future Mineral: Cobalt

Cobalt is critical to the renewable energy transition. But how can we minimise its environmental cost? As a key ingredient in fast-charging, long-lasting batteries for electric cars, smart phones and laptops, demand for cobalt is soaring. And yet we do not understand the environmental impact of cobalt in mine wastes, or when discarded as e-waste. This project seeks to understand the movement of cobalt in the environment by studying its interactions with water, soil and microbes at former mine sites, and to run experiments with batteries. This timely and important research will enable us to develop plans to better immobilise cobalt in the environment.

Frogs: A Barometer for Bushfire Recovery​ | Project Funded

Bushfires are increasing in both frequency and intensity in many ecosystems in Victoria. In the summer of 2019-2020, more than 70% of Croajingolong National Park, in Gippsland, was burnt by devastating bushfires.  

Frogs are strong indicators of the health of the environments they live in, with many species threatened by environmental change. To better inform conservation management strategies, using field surveys and genomic research, we want to study the impacts fires have on local frog species in Croajingolong. 


Donate and support

Donations of $2 or more are tax deductible.

If you would like to learn more about our projects, please contact the Museums Victoria Development Team on +61 (0) 435 174 216 or email [email protected].

You can also support Climate Action by joining the Director’s Circle and enjoy unparalleled access to your special interest while playing an integral role in its future success.

Unless otherwise agreed, Museums Victoria reserves the right to determine at its sole discretion the initiatives to be delivered and how any donated funds are to be applied.

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