Polychaetes come to the surface


Polychaete Hesionidae.
Image: Gary Cranitch

 

Friday 20 February 2009
 
LAST time on Lizard Island Charlotte Watson's research was hampered by some rough weather.
 
This time around she's taken advantage of the beautiful conditions to get out on the boat and collect polychaetes.
 
One of the more memorable finds was a toxic fireworm, which one of the boat crews caught and brought in for Charlotte to examine.
 
It was just one of the many specimens Charlotte, from the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, has examined on Lizard, and she is confident she has identified a number of new species.
 
Charlotte's speciality is chrysopetalidids, which she believes are abundantly available around the island.
 
"They're very small and I have to double check under the compound microscope, but I know there are way more species on Lizard Island than have been described previously," she said.
 
This time on Lizard Island she's been able to access new habitats and new reefs to find new specimens, and she's also had a bit of help.
 
Arthur Anker, from the University of Florida, is studying shrimp and his collecting efforts also mean he brings in a number of polychates, which he passes on to Charlotte.
 
"That's been really nice this trip," she said.
 
Charlotte said she was also collecting for her colleague Chris Glasby, who was on the first Lizard Island trip.