Taxonomy Australia's Governance
Taxonomy Australia is governed by a Steering Committee comprising representatives of peak bodies and organisations along with individual leaders in the taxonomy and biosystematics community.
Members of the Steering Committee
Prof. Andy Austin (Director)
Andy is Professor Emeritus at The University of Adelaide, having retired in early 2021 after 36 years as a university academic and researcher. During that time he supervised 38 PhD and Masters students and some 50 Honours students to completion, and taught undergraduate courses in invertebrate zoology, entomology and evolutionary biology.
He has received significant funding from the ARC and ABRS to support his research on the systematics and evolution of parasitic wasps, spiders and stygofauna (aquatic subterranean invertebrates). His research has been recognised through numerous awards, most recently the Distinguished Career Award from the Society of Australian Systematic Biologists.
Andy is a co-opted member of the Steering Committee.
Dr Jane Melville (Chair)
Jane is a Senior Curator, Terrestrial Vertebrates at Museums Victoria. She is Chair of the Steering Committee.
Her research combines field-based studies and genetics to help understand the taxonomy, conservation, ecology and evolution of endangered reptiles and frogs.
Jane was recently awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to conduct research at the Living Earth Collaborative at Washington University in St. Louis on contributions of taxonomy to the conservation of Australian reptiles.
Jane is a co-opted member of the Steering Committee.
Dr Tom May (Deputy Chair)
Tom represents the Australasian Mycological Society (AMS) on the Steering Committee.
He is a Principal Research Scientist at Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, where he studies the taxonomy, ecology and conservation of larger fungi, including their history, bibliography and nomenclature. He is member of the editorial team for the International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi and plants, and an Associate Editor of Australian Journal of Taxonomy.
Katharina is President of the Australasian Systematic Botany Society (ASBS) and represents that Society on the Steering Committee.
Katharina is a plant systematist and evolutionary biologist and leads the orchid research program at the Australian Tropical Herbarium. Katharina uses collection genomics to elucidate diversification, trait evolution, and systematics of hyperdiverse plant lineages. Her conservation genomic research assesses species delimitation and genomic diversity in Australia’s rare and threatened plants.
Matthew is the Treasurer of Australasian Palaeontologists, and represents that association on the Steering Committee.
He is Curator of Palaeontology at the Australian Museum and a lecturer at The University of New South Wales, where he focuses on understanding the evolution of Australian species over the last 66 million years. He is currently excavating a number of ion rich fossil sites to understand the impact of aridification on Australia’s fauna during the Miocene.
Dr Cathy Byrne is the senior Curator of Zoology at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, where she manages a team of curators and technicians who look after the more than 5000,000 collections of Tasmanian animal specimens and conduct zoological research. Cathy is a lepidopterist and describing and classifying new species of native moths constitutes most of her research at the museum. Cathy has worked on Australian Lepidoptera for almost twenty years and is the only lepidopterist in a paid position in Australia. Currently, she is describing new species from a beautiful group of geometrid moths called satin moths from the genus Thalaina and has published many papers on Lepdioptera taxonomy and ecology during her career. She also recently produced an interactive key for the identification of the caterpillars of Australian moths and butterflies.
Currently, Cathy is the chair of the Council of Heads of Australian Faunal Collections (CHAFC) and represents this peak body on the Steering Committee.
Dr Haylee Crawford-Weaver
Haylee is the Manager of the Australian Biological Resources Study (ABRS) and represents ABRS on the Steering Committee.
Dr Elycia Wallis
Dr Elycia Wallis works at the Atlas of Living Australia, in a collaborative role with the museum and herbarium communities, plus on international initiatives – such as the Biodiversity Heritage Library and Biodiversity Information Standards (TDWG). Ely leads the Engagement team in ALA whose activities range across citizen science, biosecurity, taxonomic names management, restricted access data and the Indigenous Ecological Knowledge program.
Prior to joining the ALA in 2018, Dr Wallis worked with Museums Victoria in roles spanning collection management, database management and publishing collections online.
VACANT - one of the two representatives of mid-career researchers on the Steering Committee.
Prof. Gerry Cassis
Gerry works and teaches at the Evolution & Ecology Research Centre at the University of New South Wales.
An entomologist, Gerry's career has focused on the taxonomy, biosystematics and evolution of true bugs in the family Miridae in Australia and our region.
Gerry is one of the two representatives of the University sector on the Steering Committee.
Mark is Editor-in-Chief of the Australian Journal of Taxonomy and joins the committee in an ex officio capacity, representing the journal.
He is Head of Terrestrial Zoology at the Western Australian Museum.
Dr Darren Crayn
Darren Crayn represents the Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria (CHAH) on the Steering Committee.
Kevin is a co-opted member of the Steering Committee.
Kevin was the inaugural Director of Taxonomy Australia. He is an Associate Editor of Australian Journal of Taxonomy.
Prof Alan Andersen FAA
Alan is Professor of Terrestrial Invertebrates in the Research Institute for the Environment and Livelihoods at Charles Darwin University, following a 30-year career with CSIRO. His primary research interests are in the global ecology of ant communities, which includes a key focus on documenting Australia’s largely unrecognised ant diversity. Alan is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science and Chairs the Academy’s National Committee for Ecology, Evolution and Conservation. Alan represents the Academy on the Steering Committee.
Dr Maggie Haines
Maggie is one of the two representatives of mid-career researchers on the Steering Committee.
Maggie is a project officer at the Museums Victoria Research Institute. Her research combines genomic and morphological techniques to better understand species evolutionary history and systematics. She previously worked on Australian lizards but is currently resolving the taxonomic relationships among brittle stars.
Dr Jeremy Wilson
Jeremy is one of the two ECR (Early Career Researcher) representatives on the Steering Committee.
He works as an arachnologist specialising on the taxonomy and evolutionary biology of the Mygalomorphae (trapdoor spiders and their kin). He is currently employed as a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Western Australia, leading a Commonwealth ABRS funded project to study and revise the Australian wishbone spiders (burrowing spiders that are diverse across the Australian arid zone). His work heavily utilises natural history collections and he is a Research Associate of the Queensland Museum and Western Australian Museum.
Dr Andrew Thornhill
Andrew is one of the two representatives of the University sector on the Steering Committee.
He is a lecturer in plant systematics at the University of New England in Armidale as well as the director of the N.C.W. Beadle Herbarium. He has worked in a number of Australian institutes and states, as well as, in the USA. Andrew studies a broad range of aspects in plant evolution with an emphasis on Australian plants and large phylogenetic studies. He has published on the evolution, palynology, phylogenetics, systematics, and biogeography of the Myrtaceae and in particular has worked on the phylogenetic relationships of the eucalypts which are a species rich group in Myrtaceae. More recently he has become involved with bryophyte (moss, liverwort, and hornwort) collection curation and their systematic and phylogenetic relationships.
Dr Perry Beasley-Hall
Perry is one of the two ECR (Early Career Researcher) representatives on the Steering Committee.
She is an entomologist specialising in the systematics, taxonomy, and evolution of Australian cave crickets (Rhaphidophoridae: Macropathinae), a group currently declining across the country for reasons that are as-yet unknown. Perry is presently employed as an ABRS Postdoctoral Fellow at The University of Adelaide and has a background in molecular evolution, eDNA, phylogenetics, and biogeography. Her specific research interests lie in the evolution and conservation of weird and wonderful subterranean species, including those that have transitioned to an underground life in caves, burrows, and aquifers.
Dr Lara Shepherd
Lara is an evolutionary biologist at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. She uses genetic and genomic techniques to study the evolution of New Zealand’s flora and fauna. Currently Lara is working on revising the taxonomy of speargrasses (Aciphylla) and prions (Pachyptila) and is the Senior Editor of the New Zealand Journal of Botany.
Lara is an observer on the Steering Committee, representing the New Zealand taxonomy and biosystematics sector.
Michelle is President of the Australian Society of Systematic Biologists (SASB) and represents that Society on the Steering Committee.
She is a Senior Research Associate at the University of Adelaide and her research explores the ‘dark’ (undescribed) biodiversity of animals that live in groundwater dependent ecosystems with a focus on threatened ecological communities.