Congratulations to Maria Byrne and Timothy O’Hara, winners of the 2018 Whitley Award for Best Australasian Zoological Publication


SIMS is very excited by the news that Australian Echinoderms, edited by Professor Maria Byrne and Timothy O’Hara, has been awarded the prestigious Whitley Medal.  The award recognises outstanding publications profiling unique wildlife of Australasia. The reference book is a “combination of a fascinating topic,
clear and informative writing, and stunning photography.”




The book is not a pocketable field guide or
identification book but rather an outstanding collation of information that
provides a comprehensive overview for all things Echinoderm.”


Read the full review by CSIRO Publishing below:

With Australian
, editors Maria Byrne and Timothy O’Hara, and an impressive list
of renowned scientist contributors, have provided us with a stellar example in
spades. This book covers all things
Echinoderm, although the title is a bit of a misnomer as fully half of the book
is devoted to broad coverage of the group, and not solely to Australian representatives
of the phylum.


The Echinodermata is one of the largest phyla, notable for being
comprised exclusively of marine representatives (110 families and 7000 species,
1400 of which are found in Australia) that are often used to symbolize the sea,
and sport common names that are positively oceanic, e.g. sea urchin, sea lily,
sea daisy, sea cucumber, and seastar to name a few.  Within the 624 pages of this book, the reader
will no doubt learn a great deal about these organisms.  Coverage of Australian species is
geographically broad, ranging from those members found in all regions and
territories of Australia from the Antarctic waters of Macquarie Island through
to the Great Barrier Reef.

strongest additions to the text, 
are the inclusion of the stunning
photographs, of both the whole organisms in their natural environments, as well
as their microscopic parts in prepared specimens, and also the detailed
scientific diagrams that are complete with comprehensive labelling.

The book is divided into two parts.  The first part poses the opening question of
“What is an Echinoderm?” and addresses that question through chapters
devoted to an introduction to the group, their ecology and behavior, life
histories, management for conservation and fisheries purposes, biogeography,
phylogeny and geological history.  Pertinent to the broad coverage of this half of the text are fascinating
and novel text boxes that highlight mysterious or interesting aspects of
Echinoderms, such as their ability to regenerate arms, their distinctive mutable
catch connective tissue, or of the highly invasive nature of the North Pacific

The second
part focuses on Echinoderm diversity with chapters that focus separately on
each class of Echinoderm: Asteroidea, Crinoidea, Echinoidea, Holothuroidea, and
Ophiuroidea.  Each chapter begins with a
general introduction describing the classification and phylogeny of each class,
before focusing on representative orders and families.  Importantly, each chapter is presented
without complicated scientific jargon that would require further research to