Dr Niel L. Bruce

Niel Bruce is a world expert on marine isopod crustaceans, a group of small sized, abundant and diverse crustaceans related to crabs and shrimp. His research began with an Honours thesis on the taxonomy of isopod crustaceans from the Red Sea. That interest in tropical crustaceans has continued to the present day.

Niel has written more than 135 scientific papers, numerous reports and popular articles including five monographs and two edited books. He has worked at the Smithsonian Institution, Australian Museum, Zoological Museum in Copenhagen as Curator of Crustacea and most recently at the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research in New Zealand as head of the Marine Invertebrate Biodiversity and Collections programs. Niel joined the Queensland Museum in 2007 as Senior Curator at the Museum of Tropical Queensland in Townsville.

Niel's research continues to focus on the taxonomy, systematics, biogeography and biodiversity of tropical marine isopods, both free living and parasitic forms. He has described or redescribed more than 400 species, 40 new genera and three new families of marine isopod. Present research focuses on Great Barrier Reef isopods, using this work as the basis for higher level revisions of Australian isopods. The prime focus of work over the next five years is the systematics of the Asellota (a group of small isopods) from Australian coral reefs, funded by ABRS and CReefs–BHP Billiton.

Queensland Museum research collections of coral-reef isopods have been built from extensive field work on the Great Barrier Reef, and throughout the Indo-Pacific from Fiji and Papua New Guinea, the Great Barrier Reef, Western Australia and the Western Indian Ocean at South Africa, Mauritius, Zanzibar and Kenya.

Recent major collaborative projects are the molecular phylogeny of the Sphaeromatidae, the largest family of free-living isopods, with Dr Regina Wetzer of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, and revisions of southwestern Pacific isopods based on the collections held at the Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle in Paris, incorporating material from Australian museums.

  • 2007- : Curator, Tropical Marine Biodiversity, Queensland Museum
  • 2001-2007: Biodiversity Group Manager and NIWA Invertebrate Collection Director, NIWA, New Zealand
  • 1978-2001:Senior Editor DPI, Brisbane
  • 1993-1997: Curator of Crustacea, Zoologisk Museum, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Queen Elizabeth II Research Fellow at the Australian Museum
  • Smithsonian Postdoctoral Research Fellow, USNM, Washington DC
  • Senior Research Fellow, Department of Zoology, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Visiting Professor, Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle Paris (2005, 2007)
  • Adjunct Lecturer, School of Marine and Tropical Biology, James Cook University


Revision of the shallow-water marine families of the Asellota (Crustacea: Isopoda) of tropical and sub-tropical Australia

Research project describing new species and genera, and revising genera and families, or shallow-water Asellota (Crustacea: Isopoda) of northern Australia.




Senior Curator, Tropical marine biodiversity, Biodiversity Program


BSc (Hons I), University of North Wales

PhD (University of Queensland)

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