Staff profile: Mr Martin Pueschel
- Position title:
- Scientific Illustrator
- Malacology Collection
- Research & Collections
- 02 9320 6382
- Contact Martin Pueschel using the form below
The naked truth
I first came into contact with Systematic Zoology when I volunteered at the Department of Malacology of the Museum of Natural History in Berlin. This place has been fascinating for being that kind of "klischee museum": very old, massive walls, and the scientists worked in charmingly run-down rooms, at the end of long, dark corridors lined by endless shelves full of jars filled with an incredible diversity of nature's creations. I immediately fell in love and got (happily) lost in the world of museums and science.
When I tell a stranger what I’m doing for a living, they are „stunned“, and usually the first question is: „WHY?!?“ Science in museums isn’t necessarily abstract or „weird“. Here, scientific discoveries are part of everyone's life – day by day. Others may invests lots of time and money into the creation of the perfect sound for a closing car door, a secret recipe for the best tasting brand of yoghurt, or weather-proofed enamels. And I, well, I am drawing snail genitalia. Sometimes also kidneys, but mostly genitalia.
And that is why: Especially Australian land snails have something in common: Usually humans don't care about them that much. There are incredibly many species of snails, and most of them are still unknown. Plus, mostly they are brown and inconspicuous. So far so boring.
However, snails are also a very important part of the ecosystem. They feed on litter and other plant material – thus helping to clean up and fertilizing the soil. Even if not nice for them, they also taste delicious to other animals, like lizards or birds.
Many species are endangered as well, because their ecosystems are threatened by humans. So, it's time to find out how many species there are. And believe me, literally in every vine thicket or rock talus, chances are, you will find a yet undiscovered snail.
In order to recognise and describe new snail species, it is not enough to study their shells or what they do look like from the outside. Species of each genus do look very similar, esp. for laymen.
The most characteristic feature - a kind of "species fingerprint" - of Australian land snails is the anatomy of their penial wall. Together with molecular analyses, we use penial characteristics to recognise species – constantly adding new taxa to the incredible inventory of Australian life. I want to know more!
I also invite you to see more about what my colleagues & I do:
- Explore Australian Museum Research
- Discover the tiniest structures with our Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM)
- Economist VWA Marketing and Communication (Academy for Administration and Business, Berlin, 2008)
- Cultural Studies and Philosophy (Humboldt University, Berlin, 2003-2006)
- Communication Design (Design Academy, Berlin, 2002-2003)
- Professional education Office Manager Marketing & PR (Axel Springer AG, Berlin, 2001)