Nerida Wilson

Nerida Gaye Wilson is an invertebrate marine molecular biologist at the Western Australian Museum[1][2] who has interests in diversity, systematics, phylogeny, phylogeography and behavior. Wilson has been instrumental in demonstrating the level of marine cryptic species complexes in Antarctic waters, testing the circumpolar distribution paradigm with molecular data, and using interdisciplinary approaches to show how Antarctic diversity may have been generated. Her work with NOAA on Antarctic Marine Living Resources has been used to regulate exploratory benthic fisheries.[3]

Nerida Wilson
Nerida Wilson in 2016
Alma materBSc University of Melbourne
PhD University of Queensland
AwardsAntarctic Service Medal
Scientific career
FieldsInvertebrate marine biology
InstitutionsWestern Australian Museum
WebsiteWilson at the Western Australian Museum

Early life and education

Wilson grew up on the outskirts of Melbourne in Australia, attending Bayswater Primary School and Bayswater Secondary College. She completed a B.Sc. undergraduate degree at the University of Melbourne in the Faculty of Science (1994-1998) followed by a one-year B.Sc. Honours research degree at University of Queensland (1999) in Zoology. She remained at University of Queensland but moved departments to the Centre for Marine Studies for her PhD (awarded 2004).[4]

Career and impact

Wilson began her career using histology to recover phylogenetically conserved characters, but then utilized molecular data to help understand the evolutionary history of organisms. Wilson spent almost a year as a Visiting Research Fellow at University of Adelaide and South Australian Museum before taking a postdoctoral position in the USA at Auburn University (Alabama) from 2005-2006. She then moved to Scripps Institution of Oceanography (San Diego California), first as a postdoc (2007-2009), and then as a project Scientist (2009-2010). Wilson returned to Australia in 2010 to take up a Research Scientist position in the Malacology Section at the Australian Museum (Sydney) and was promoted to Senior Research Scientist in 2012. She then moved to the Western Australian Museum in 2014 where she works across the Aquatic Zoology Department's Molecular Systematics Unit, and is an adjunct at The University of Western Australia.

Wilson has participated in numerous deep sea and Antarctic expeditions, using traditional methods and Remotely Operated Vehicles to obtain samples. She dived in the submersible HOV Alvin in 2005, diving on unexplored vents on the Pacific-Antarctic Ridge (>2500m).[5] In 2010, she led the cruise that recovered large numbers of Monoplacophora for molecular and phylogenomic analysis. To date (2016), she has deployed to Antarctica six times, acting as Chief Scientist for two of those cruises.[6][7]

Wilson's has been an editor for Invertebrate Systematics journal and the Journal of Molluscan Studies (2012–present).[8][9] She is currently the President of the Society of Australian Systematic Biologists.[10] She co-authored the proposal for the 2012-2020 SCAR Biology Scientific Research Programme "State of the Antarctic Ecosystem (AntECO)" to promote international interdisciplinary research relevant to Antarctic ecosystems.[11]

Wilson is committed to a fair, equitable scientific community and has run mentoring workshops (2013, 2015) in conjunction with SASB conferences. She co-founded the Women and Minorities in Science group at Scripps Institution of Oceanography (in 2009), and the Equal Opportunity Science- Australia Facebook group (in 2013).[12] She has also worked with Scripps Educational Alliances, the San Diego Project and the CREATE STEM success initiative using Antarctic data sets to create lesson plans to address the Next Generation Science Standards.[13]

Awards and honors

In 2014, Wilson was awarded an Antarctic Service Medal from the United States Antarctic Program. She has three species named after her; a hydrothermal vent polychaete Mesonerilla neridae,[14] a meiofaunal acochlidian slug Pontohedyle neridae,[15] and a myzostomid polychaete Endomyzostoma neridae.[16]


  1. "Nerida Wilson". Western Australian Museum. Retrieved 31 May 2016.
  2. "Ruby Seadragon Makes its Debut as a New Species". Nature World News. 18 February 2015. Retrieved 2 June 2016.
  3. "Antarctic Ecosystem Research: the US AMLR Program - SWFSC". Retrieved 31 May 2016.
  4. "Nerida Wilson". Marine Biodiversity and Evolution. Retrieved 2 June 2016.
  5. "Human Occupied Vehicle Alvin". Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
  6. "GeoScience data from NBP1105". Retrieved 13 July 2016.
  7. "GeoScience data from NBP1305". Retrieved 13 July 2016.
  8. "CSIRO PUBLISHING - Invertebrate Systematics". Retrieved 2 June 2016.
  9. "Editorial Board". Journal of Molluscan Studies. Retrieved 2 June 2016.
  10. "Banksia" (PDF). Society of Australian Systematic Biologists. August 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 January 2014. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
  11. "State of the Antarctic Ecosystem" (PDF). Retrieved 10 May 2018.
  12. "Equal Opportunity Science-Australia". Retrieved 13 July 2016.
  13. "Doing a Deep Dive: Biology Teachers Explore Antarctic Invertebrates at SIO". UCSD. 20 December 2013. Retrieved 31 May 2016.
  14. Worsaae, Katrine; Rouse, Greg W (1 January 2009). "Mesonerilla neridae, n. sp. (Nerillidae): First meiofaunal annelid from deep-sea hydrothermal vents". Zoosymposia. ISSN 1178-9913.
  15. Jörger, Katharina M.; Schrödl, Michael (1 January 2013). "How to describe a cryptic species? Practical challenges of molecular taxonomy". Frontiers in Zoology. 10 (1): 59. doi:10.1186/1742-9994-10-59. ISSN 1742-9994. PMC 4015967. PMID 24073641.
  16. "Endomyzostoma neridae". World Register of Marine Species. Retrieved 31 May 2016.
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