TMAG scientists embark on Expedition of Discovery

Scientists at work at Musselroe Wind Farm

A team of scientists from the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG) is heading to the east coast from 18 to 22 November for the museum's third Expedition of Discovery, hoping to unearth some new and fascinating plant and animal species.

The Expeditions of Discovery program investigates scientifically under-explored corners of Tasmania to search for new species and to document local biodiversity.

These scientific expeditions collect animal and plant specimens, and highlight the importance of species-discovery in understanding and managing Tasmania’s unique flora and fauna.

This work is critical to building our understanding of which species occur where, that informs the ongoing protection and management of our natural environment.

This year TMAG’s scientists will be based at Spring Bay Mill in Triabunna and will survey areas of reserve in and around the mill property and township – and will conduct marine surveying for the first time.

Head of Horticulture at the Mill, Marcus Ragus, said that everyone at the Mill is proud to support this initiative and very excited to see what surprises may be unearthed during the expedition.

"Understanding our natural living diversity is key. To plan for the future of all communities, we need to have a good idea as to what is there now,” Marcus said.

"From small and yet complex organisms, such as the tiny terrestrial lichens and macroinvertebrates, to our rich marine ecosystems, we have a duty to discover the richness of life now, to inform and add to the learning of our future generations.

"TMAG’s Expedition of Discovery team do just this; they provide an amazing service for the community, the results of which can be seen from their previous first-time discoveries in earlier programs."

TMAG’s first Expedition of Discovery in 2017 recorded nearly 1 000 species of plants and animals at the east coast property, Wind Song. These included several species new to science, as well as others that were previously unrecorded for Tasmania.

The 2018 expedition at the Musselroe Wind Farm collected 4 481 specimens, representing 1 385 species at the property including several new species of lichens and a new land snail.

TMAG’s Expeditions of Discovery program has been made possible with the generous support of the Friends of TMAG and the land owners and managers at the respective host sites.

John Sexton, President of the Friends, is enthusiastic about supporting TMAG’s scientific work.

"These expeditions are just one shining example of the work that goes on behind the scenes as TMAG brings vital knowledge of where we live to the Tasmanian community and the world," John said.

The third Expedition of Discovery will take place at Spring Bay Mill in Triabunna from 18-22 November 2019.

Image details: scientists at work during TMAG's second Expedition of Discovery at Musselroe Wind Farm in 2018