Susan Chambers is Principal Curator of Invertebrate Biology.
Susan Chambers left school and worked at the Natural History Museum, London as an assistant in the Diptera (true flies) section for five years. After this she left to study zoology at London University (1974-1977) Royal Holloway College and became interested in primate behaviour. She was employed as a research assistant at Stirling University, Psychology Department in 1978 and worked in Senegal for six months looking at Baboon social behaviour.
On return to Edinburgh in 1979 she was employed at National Museums Scotland where she has worked ever since as a marine invertebrate curator. During this time she developed a special interest in Polychaetes, a group of marine worms. Originally working on scale worms and Nereids she now concentrates on Cirratulidae. Many polychaetes are benthic, i.e. they live in the mud and sand on the sea bed in all oceans of the world. This has led to some interesting field work on board research vessels in the North Atlantic and North Sea as well as coastal surveys around Scotland.
The research is specimen based, and requires careful preparation of specimens for descriptive work and looking down a microscope. There is remarkably little known about polychaete biology so much of the work is basic taxonomy involving new species descriptions and solving taxonomic problems of incorrect names.
Susan is also interested in promoting the wonders of the Scottish marine environment to a wider audience and is currently developing partnerships with others to promote this phenomenon, including an exhibition about Scottish Seas for the Science Festival.
Current research collaborations include:
- Specialist Saline Lagoon species (F ware and S Pye NMS; S Angus SNH)
- Redescription of Monticellina (Dr B Mikac Rovinj, Croatia)
- Redescription of Antinoe (Dr E. Sigvaldadottir, Sweden)
Ten selected publications
- Chevalier, M., Pye, S., Porter, J., & Chambers, S. 2014. Hydrobiidae on North Uist. Scottish Natural Heritage Commissioned Report No. 559.
- Howson, C.M., Chambers, S.J., Pye, S.E. & Ware, F.W. 2014. Uist Lagoons Survey. Scottish Natural Heritage Commissioned Report No. 787.
- Zaâbi S., Gillet, P., Chambers S., Afli, A. & Boumaiza,M. 2012. Inventory and new records of Polychaete species from the Cap Bon peninsula, North east coast of Tunisia, western Mediterranean Sea. Mediterranean Marine Science. 13(1): 36-48.
- S.J. Chambers & A.L. Mulford. 2012. What is the distribution of the benthic Chaetognath Spadellacephaloptera (Busch, 1851) in British Waters?Porcupine Marine Natural History Newsletter.31: 16-20.
- S. Chambers, P. Lanera & B. Mikac. 2011. Chaetozone carpenteri McIntosh, 1911 from the Mediterranean Sea and records of other bi-tentaculate Cirratulids. Italian Journal of Zoology78: 41-48.
- Barrios, L.M., S.J. Chambers, N. Ismail, H. M. Guzman & J. M. Mair. 2009. Distribution of Idanthyrsus cretus (Polychaeta: Sabellaridae) in the Tropical Eastern Pacific and application of PCR_RAPD for population analysis. Zoosymposia2: 487-503.
- Chambers, S. J. 2008. Polychaetes and Chaetognaths. ZIMNES. Zooplankton Identification Manual to Northern European Seas.
- A.I. Muir & S.J. Chambers. 2008. Malmgrenia McIntosh, 1874 (Annelida: Polychaeta: Polynoidae) proposed use of plenary powers to designate a type species. Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature65(1): 12-16.
- Chambers, S.J., E.L. Dominguez-Tejo, J. M. Mair, L. A. Mitchell, & A. Woodham. 2007. The distribution of three eyeless Chaetozone species (Cirratulidae: Polychaeta) in the North East Atlantic. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom87: 1111-1114.
- Chambers, S.J. & A. Woodham. 2003. A new species of Chaetozone (Polychaeta: Cirratulidae) from deep water in the northeast Atlantic, with comments on the diversity of the genus in cold northern waters. Hydrobiologia496: 41-48.