Prior to this study there were less than 50 species of benthic amphipods known from the Great Barrier Reef (Haswell 18xx; K.H. Barnard 1931; Berents 1983; Myers 1986; Lowry & Stoddart 1990, 1992; Thomas & Barnard 1991; Lowry & Berents 2005; Guerra-Garcia 2006; Peart 2007a, b; Lowry & Azman, 2007; Yerman & Krapp-Schickel, 2008). Examination of the benthic amphipod fauna of the Great Barrier Reef, based on new collections mainly from the Lizard Island Amphipod Workshop in February/March 2005, revealed 45 families, 116 genera, of which 8 (6.9%) are new, and 256 species, of which 107 (45%) are new. The amphipod fauna of the Great Barrier Reef is the richest fauna yet known from any tropical reef area.

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Review by Maria Byrne, Professor Marine and Developmental Biology, University of Sydney:

This important new book on the amphipods of the Great Barrier Reef is the result of years of collective effort by an international team of 20 amphipod experts. It fills a major gap in knowledge of the amphipods of Australia, as previously the tropical fauna was poorly known.

The tropical amphipod program was initiated with support from the Australian Biological Resources Study for the Lizard Island Workshop (2005). During the workshop the amphipod team spent two weeks in a concentrated effort to collected amphipods from a broad range of habitats. Light and bait traps were used to great effect. The work on Lizard Island was followed by surveys of the far northern GBR, Thursday Island in Torres Strait and the southern GBR at Heron Island and One Tree Island and inshore reef at Orpheus Island. This resulted in a massive collection that was registered at the Australian Museum. The specimens where sent around the world for taxonomic work. Not surprisingly many important discoveries and new species were made. In total 112 new species were discovered and of course I am delighted in the discovery of Cymadusa mariabyrneae from One Tree Reef. Some species are very unusual, such as finding the brackish/freshwater genus Bolttsia, hitherto only known from eastern Africa and a semi terrestrial genus, Chelorchestia, only known from tropical America. It is an impressive tome (900+ pages) covering 49 families, 121 general and 235 species.

The book is a major resource for understanding the biodiversity of this ecologically important group, nearly 80% of which are endemic to the GBR. Over 90% of the species are also new records for Australia. All species are fully illustrated and interactive keys to all species are provide on the accompanying CD.

The chapter on biogeography will be useful to those interested in the evolutionary history of the region, its Gondwanan origin and how the Australian tropical amphipod fauna relates to other species in the Indo-Pacific.

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Bibliographic Data

Benthic Amphipoda (Crustacea: Peracarida) of the Great Barrier Reef Australia
Lowry, J. K; Myers, A. A
Lowry, JK & Myers, AA
Publication Type
Magnolia Press
Number of pages
Zootaxa 2260
Magnolia Press
Place Published
Auckland, New Zealand
978 1 86977 411 0
Full Text
List of all articles (with full PDFs) - Zootaxa