Richard Marchant

Senior Curator, Entomology

Richard Marchant
Richard Marchant with a crowd of King Island penguins.
Image: Museum Victoria
Source: Museum Victoria

Dr Richard Marchant studies the ecology of aquatic insects and other invertebrates inhabiting rivers, particularly their species composition, diversity and population dynamics.


Richard Marchant studied the population ecology of brine shrimps that inhabit salt lakes in western Victoria for his PhD. Before his arrival at the museum he investigated the feeding and population ecology of riverine amphipods (a type of shrimp) in Ontario, Canada and the composition of tropical invertebrates in billabongs in Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory.

While at the museum he has had the opportunity to examine the stream invertebrates of an isolated sub-antarctic island, Macquarie Island (half way between Tasmania and Antarctica), and has conducted much field work on stream invertebrate communities in Victoria and southern NSW.

Richard is the scientific editor of Memoirs of Museum Victoria, the museum’s annual scientific journal, and is an associate editor of Marine and Freshwater Research (published by CSIRO).

He has been the secretary of the Australian Society for Limnology, a national organisation promoting the study and scientific management of Australia’s inland aquatic ecosystems, since 1985. He is also the Australian national representative of the International Society for Limnology, a worldwide organisation of freshwater biologists and others who study lakes and rivers.

Current activities:

Community ecology of stream invertebrates

Recent projects include the assessment of a new diversity index for aquatic insects in Victorian streams, and the resampling of streams on Macquarie Island to determine the degree of change in invertebrate communities over a 15-year interval.

Population ecology of caddis fly larvae

This project started six years ago with the aim of gathering long-term data on the population densities and life cycles of two species of rock-dwelling caddis larvae in a coastal river in the Otway Ranges. The influence on larval abundance of a variety of factors including variations in river discharge and water temperature are being investigated.

The availability of mayfly and caddisfly larvae for platypus populations

Major items in the diet of platypus are the larvae of mayflies and caddisflies. This project, being carried out in southern NSW, is attempting to measure the growth and density of these groups of insects. From such data and the known food requirements of platypus it is hoped to determine the number of platypus that can be supported per kilometre of river.

Last updated 5 December 2012