Anna McCallum

ABRS Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Anna McCallum
Anna McCallum
Image: David Paul
Source: Museum Victoria

Dr. Anna McCallum is interested in the biogeography, ecology and evolution of marine invertebrates, particularly decapod crustaceans.


Anna received her PhD in marine ecology in 2011 at the University of Melbourne and Museum Victoria. Her research described patterns of diversity along the continental margin and examined the importance of environmental and physical variables in shaping these patterns. This research was based on collections of decapod crustaceans from the continental margin of Western Australia.

In 2013, Anna was awarded the Australian Biological Resources Study (ABRS) Postdoctoral Fellowship to continue her research on squat lobsters in the deep, by investigating their evolution and describing the many new species which have recently been discovered in Australia’s oceans.

Current activities

Species discovery and evolution of deep-sea squat lobsters from the family Munididae (Crustacea: Anomura)

Our understanding of diversity patterns in the deep sea is impeded by the taxonomic effort of describing the large number of new species encountered. Squat lobsters (family Munididae) are a model organism for studying biodiversity in the deep, and are being used to build maps of seafloor fauna across the globe. Despite these efforts, the Australian fauna is incompletely described. This project will describe the Australian fauna including 25 new species, providing a powerful dataset for environmental managers of Australia’s deep waters. We will resolve the classification and phylogeny of this group to allow investigations of adaptation, biogeography and speciation.

Global deep-sea biodiversity mapping

This collaboration with Dr Tim O’Hara aims to produce a global map of deep sea biodiversity based on the distribution of squat lobsters. Maps of the world’s seafloor fauna are long overdue and the most recent biogeographic classification of the deep sea relies on environmental surrogates. The lack of maps defined by faunal data hinders marine management across nations' EEZs and the high seas. This project collates data for over 1000 species of squat lobsters (superfamilies Chirostyloidea and Galatheoidea) from museum collections, the literature and other databases. Species distribution models will then be combined to produce global assemblage composition maps. This project is funded by the Census of Marine Life COSMOS award and is a collaboration of taxonomists worldwide.

Diversity patterns of benthic infauna on the continental margin

The small animals that inhabit the sediment of the ocean floor have long been used by ecologists to study spatial patterns of marine biodiversity. Recent efforts by a team of specialist taxonomists at Museum Victoria have resulted in a dataset of over 600 species across more than 50 sites on the continental margin. Anna is analysing this data to investigate patterns of diversity in relation to energy availability and habitat.

National Environmental Research Program (NERP) Marine Biodiversity Hub

Anna is a member of the Marine Biodiversity Hub, which provides scientific information and advice to support decision making in the marine environment at a national scale. Museum Victoria is providing information on spatial patterns of marine biodiversity.


Last updated 16 June 2014