Leading Sea Star Expert Explores WA Museum Collection

07 Feb 2023

Dr Chris Mah from the Smithsonian Institution is one of the world’s leading experts on the evolution and biology of the sea star (Asteroidea). His research has taken him around the globe, from Antarctica to the Aleutian Islands, and includes deep-sea submersible dives in the Hawaiian Islands, off the Bahamas, and the Gorda Ridge in the North Pacific Ocean.

Dr Mah is visiting the Western Australian Museum to undertake a month-long laboratory-based investigation of the Museum’s Asteroidea collection. Dr Mah aims to identify registered and legacy material in the collection with the view of publishing taxonomic descriptions of new genera and species.

Dr Mah commented, “My visit is timely as ocean diversity is at a critical stage. Describing and recognising these species is like naming the characters in an ecological play. Who are they? What role will they play? Understanding this is critical for the understanding of Australian marine systems.”

Dr Mah will speak about his research and encounters with some of the most unusual creatures on the planet at “Conversations with Dr Chris Mah” on Saturday 25 February 2023 at WA Museum Boola Bardip. The session will be facilitated by WA Museum’s Marine Invertebrate Curator, Associate Professor Zoe Richards.

Dr Mah’s work with Western Australian Museum is made possible by a Foundation for the WA Museum Minderoo Grant, funded from the Foundation’s Discovery Endowment Fund.