This artwork is based on a Barnacle specimen, Catomerus polymerus (Surf Barnacle) collected during the Museum Victoria biodiversity survey at Wilsons Promontory in 2010. The specimen is now preserved in the Museum Victoria marine invertebrates collection. The artist, Mali Moir spent several days working with the survey's intertidal team led my museum scientists Anna McCallum (Cosmos Postdoctoral Fellow) and Melanie Mackenzie (Assistant Marine Collection Manager).
Moir began a series of preliminary field sketches on the beach, and then undertook further examinations back at the field laboratory at Tidal River. She observed the process of fixing and preserving the specimen and the taxonomic process by which the museum scientists identify the species. Back at Museum Victoria, she resumed work over a number of months to document and illustrate the specimen as it became part of the marine invertebrate collection.
This scientific artwork represents a seminal shift in Mali's career. As a renowned botanical artist this was Moir's first experience of large scale fieldwork and work outside of botanical studies. In her own words, "it has in a short period of time, completely changed my focus". Mali has since joined various large scale expeditions such as 'Our Planet Reviewed', Papua New Guinea 2012-2012 run by Philippe Bouchet, National Museum of Natural History, Paris, and Olivier Pascal, Pro-Natura International international expedition.
She has named the piece Dragon Barnacle in response to the observations by various members of the marine survey team, in particular Honorary Associate, Michela Mitchell's comment that the barnacle looked like a dragon's claw.