The South Australian Museum is a major centre of exciting scientific discovery. Our institution plays an important global role as our scientists work to understand and conserve Australia's natural and cultural heritage for current and future generations.

Researchers embark on amazing adventures across the world to discover and describe new species of fauna and their relationship with the environment, provide valuable advice to policymakers, lawyers and corporations, and act as custodians of the Museum's extensive national collections.

Our scientists are world leaders in fields such as evolutionary biology, mineralogy, palaeontology and terrestrial invertebrates. Unlocked brings you the hidden gems from the South Australian Museum.

Be inspired as you unearth the secrets of our science.

  • 22 October 2015

    South Australian Museum joins global network to get collections online

    In a global first, the South Australian Museum is teaming with the Smithsonian, the New York Botanic Gardens, Chicago’s Field Museum, the Australian Museum and other natural history museums to bring more of their extensive collections online.

    Worldwide Engagement for Digitizing Biocollections (WeDigBio), a four-day global blitz of online crowdsourcing, aims to help transcribe biodiversity research collections and is being held from 22 to 25 October 2015.

    This exciting global effort brings to the fore the vital role that museum collection managers and volunteers play in transcribing museum artefacts to online databases. 

  • 25 September 2015

    Antarctic life under the microscope

    Despite temperatures dropping well below -60 °C in Antarctica, micro-animals like nematodes (commonly known as roundworms), rotifers (wheel animals) and tardigrades (water bears), can survive the most extreme environmental conditions.

    These hardy and adaptable invertebrates - found in soil, ponds and lakes - are often among the first colonisers and last survivors in harsh environments.

    “These animals have been living in Antarctica, likely since before it was glaciated when it had a forest,” said Associate Professor Mark Stevens, South Australian Museum.

    “They are essentially relics of a continent that has had a huge amount of environmental change over a very long period of time.”

  • 08 July 2015

    Uncharted territory – South Australian Museum reveals secrets of the deep ocean

    The South Australian Museum is helping to explore the deep sea floor off southern Australian. The goal is to collect and describe the creatures that live there – some up to 2000 meters below sea level. Today, World Oceans Day is a chance to reflect on these mysteries of the ocean.

    “We’ve mapped the moon and even Mars, but we know very little about our oceans and the animals that live there, especially down deep,” said Dr Andrea Crowther, Collections Manager – Marine Invertebrates, South Australian Museum.

    “Healthy Oceans, Healthy Planet is the theme of World Oceans Day this year and it’s a chance to put the spotlight on these unexplored ecosystems,” Dr Crowther said.

    “We need to know what healthy ocean systems look like so that we can protect them and monitor changes over time.”