The Australian Crayfish Project (ACP)

Started in 2005 the Australian Crayfish Project (ACP) is a privately funded project run entirely by volunteers with a thirst for knowledge on freshwater crayfish. We all freely give our time and resources to support the project. If you have a passion for freshwater crayfish, are concerned for their conservation and wish to raise their profile or just generally increase the knowledge base then join us on the Project. You need to be self-sufficient to tag along with us but please consider it, we need your help to find and identify our native crayfish species.

Australia has one of the most diverse ranges of freshwater crayfish species on the planet yet there is much confusion with the description and distribution of species and many species remain undiscovered & undescribed. The project is discovering dozens of new species or new populations that were never known to exist. Our aim is to find and identify all species of freshwater crayfish and their habitat, the bottom line is that if no one knows these species are there and they don’t even have a name then how can they be protected and conserved into the future? The results of this project will ensure that all management agencies take the crayfish and their habitat into consideration for future environmental, conservation, development and catchment management plans, etc.

Australia’s unique crayfish are important keystone species which have a disproportionately large effect on the whole catchment relative to their abundance. They play a critical role in maintaining the structure of the whole ecological community, their prosperity and abundance directly affecting the health and abundance of numerous other species (macroinvertebrates, fish, eels, turtles, lizards, snakes, water rats, platypus and birds, to name just a few) in the ecosystem. Please help us help the crayfish and all the other species that rely on them for their survival.

Our research is divided into two broad research types:

1. Pure research. This involves broad scale surveying of crayfish species from across Australia, it involves compiling general knowledge on species and their distributions “knowledge for knowledge’s sake.” However, the knowledge gained by this curiosity-driven research has led to numerous unanticipated scientific breakthroughs with huge gains in general knowledge on vast numbers of species. Much of this new knowledge results in further strategic research.

2. Strategic research. Specific projects to acquire new knowledge and answer specific questions on species. Pure research tends to discover new species, new distributions of species or environmental problems. This leads to strategic projects to describe the new species, redescribe species or safeguard species and habitat conservation.

Our aim is to share our knowledge, to publish the research results to increase the knowledge base on all our species and provide the scientific evidence our management authorities need to ensure the crayfish and their habitats are protected and conserved for all time. The project has been extremely successful to date with significant output and results.

Team Leader
Rob McCormack