5 minutes with Dr Merrick Ekins, Collection Manager of Sessile Marine Invertebrates

Today’s #CouchCurator is Dr Merrick Ekins, Collection Manager of Sessile Marine Invertebrates who is sharing some of his favourite items from the collection.

What is your favourite species in the collection and why?

Carnivorous sponges, because they have evolved as a carnivorous feeding type from a filter feeder to adapt to the lack of food at the ocean’s abyss.

Do you have any interesting facts?

  • Queensland Museum has an extra-large sponge glass spicule, which is 1 metre long as opposed to ones that are normally 0.00001 metre long.
  • Another interesting collection item is Euplecta, a basket glass sponge that a pair of shrimps live their whole life in, given as Japanese wedding presents.
  • The Queensland Museum houses the largest collection of sponges in Indo-pacific.
  • We have 5000 morpho species of sponges in the Queensland Museum collection, of which only around 800 are described. This means that there are 4,200 sponge species yet to be described in our collection, that doesn’t even count what is still in the ocean waiting to be discovered.

Tell us a little bit about what you love about your role?

I love the scientific discovery and describing new species, increasing the known biodiversity.

What is your favourite thing about your role at the museum? Why?

SCUBA diving and discovering new species.

What is your favourite exhibition at the museum and why?

Wild State, because it shows off some of Queensland’s amazing biodiversity.

Learn more

Interested in learning more about Merrick? View his profile here.