Michela Mitchell

Research Associate

Michela Mitchell
Michela Mitchell

Michela specialises in sea anemone (Actiniaria) taxonomy and promotes the cataloguing of marine species to assist in marine conservation.


It is only natural, after growing up in outback Australia and completing a diploma in Computing Programming, that Michela should promptly return to University and commence a career in something completely opposite to programming and the outback. As an undergraduate, Michela completed her degree in Environmental Science - Coastal Management at Southern Cross University. Michela’s interest in sea anemone taxonomy started when she discovered that there was little known about Australian sea anemones and no one had ever been dedicated to working on the order in Australia. Most taxonomic work that had been completed on Australian sea anemone fauna had been undertaken by sending preserved specimens to overseas experts (as recently as 1970).

As a consequence in 2006 Michela commenced her Masters by Research on sea anemones and is now the first resident taxonomist of Actiniaria in Australia. Michela‘s research to date has concentrated on cataloguing the sea anemone fauna of Port Phillip Bay and researching  the taxonomy of the Oulactis species (sand anemones) that occur around southern Australia and in New Zealand. Michela has been associated with the museum since 2001 as a volunteer in the Marine Invertebrates lab and is now a research associate. Though sea anemones are number one in her book she has a diverse interest in fauna and flora.

Current Activities

Species checklist of sea anemones from Wilsons Promontory

Michela participated in the 2011 Wilsons Promontory National Park in collaboration with Parks Victoria (Prom Bioscan) to examine the Actiniaria fauna around Wilsons Promontory’s various intertidal habitats and to produce a species list of the area.

Reviewing Oulactis species in Australia and New Zealand

This project is reviewing the species of Oulactis that occur in Australia and New Zealand. The similar appearance of the two species that occur in Australia suggests that they may be one species. This project is examining the morphology and genetics of both species to determine if they should be synonymised.

Marine life Of Port Phillip Bay

Michela contributed data pages to the Marine Life of Port Phillip Bay project on the Actiniarian fauna.She is also working on an online interactive key to the Actiniaria fauna of Port Phillip Bay.


Last updated 20 February 2013

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