Dr Claudia Arango
Claudia is one of the few world specialists in sea spiders or pycnogonids and has been working on Australian fauna since 1998.
Anoplodactylus evansi, an Australian sea spider.
Claudia was awarded a PhD in Zoology and Marine Biology from James Cook University with a dissertation on phylogenetics and taxonomy of pycnogonids from the Great Barrier Reef.
She received a two-year Lerner Gray Fellowship from the American Museum of Natural History in New York to work on the molecular and morphological systematics of sea spiders, their internal phylogeny and to provide data to understand their position in the arthropod Tree of Life.
In 2005, Claudia returned to Australia with an Australian Biological Resources Study (ABRS) research grant to document the diversity of Australian pycnogonids.
Through her research, Claudia has discovered more than 10 new species and reported near 20 new records for Australia.
Currently, more than 200 species are known and many more expected to be described. See the Australian Faunal Directory: Class PYCNOGONIDA Latreille, 1810 for Australian species checklist, distribution and images.
The Australian Antarctic Territory harbours an incredible diversity of sea spiders and with the support of the Australian Antarctic Science Grants (AAS), the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD), and the Census of Antarctic Marine Life (CAML), Claudia is currently leading a three-year project with an international team of researchers studying the diversification and evolutionary processes of sea spiders in Antarctica. She is also working on taxonomic revisions of collection held at most of the Australian museums.
Claudia has authored more than 20 peer-reviewed publications on the evolutionary history of sea spiders, their taxonomy and ecology, and has presented her work at conferences and seminars in Australia, US, South America, Europe and Japan.
Her research interests range from understanding the genetic variation and diversification in widely distributed species (e.g. circum-Antarctic, east Australian coast distribution) to the phylogenetic relationships among Australasian taxa and their connections to Antarctic and deep-sea species.