Melanie Mackenzie

Collection Manager, Invertebrate Collection

Mel Mackenzie
Mel Mackenzie at work on board the RRS James Clark Ross.
Source: Pete Lens, British Antarctic Survey

Melanie works with a dedicated team to manage and maintain the Invertebrate Collection. This collection is primarily marine though also includes some freshwater invertebrates (e.g. crayfish) and terrestrial invertebrates (e.g. land snails). The collection is a specimen 'library' of everything from tiny tanaids to giant squids; and the management team work to keep the collection organised, viable and accessible for ongoing morphological, genetic, and environmental research.


Melanie started working at the museum as a volunteer docent in 1994, educating public visitors in various marine exhibitions while studying Zoology at Melbourne University. From there Melanie moved down to the dungeons of the Russell Street building as a volunteer research assistant to Dr. C.C. Lu, busily counting squid suckers and tentacles to assist in descriptions of new species. Melanie went on to work as a Relocations Officer during the Museum move from Russell Street, then as an assistant collection manager in Invertebrate Zoology at various temporary locations before finally settling at Melbourne Museum.

After a ten-year stint away (in Learning, Development, Training and Publishing both here and in Japan) Melanie is back working in the collections at Melbourne Museum since 2010.

Current activities

Apart from her usual collection management responsibilities and department biodiversity surveys, Melanie also works closely with Museum Honorary Associate Mark O’Loughlin and colleagues on echinoderms – primarily sea cucumbers (holothurians), contributing through fieldwork, lab work, research and photography to a variety of scientific projects and publications. Melanie has travelled to Poland, the Falklands and even the Weddell Sea in Antarctica to collect and identify these curious critters.

Last updated 25 February 2014