The mission of the Australian Mammal Society (AMS) is to contribute to the greater understanding and conservation of Australasian mammals.
Research by members of the Society spans a wide variety of biological disciplines including behavioural and community ecology, population genetics, management and conservation.
The AMS is an interdisciplinary society of biologists whose common interest is in the biology and conservation of Australasian mammals.
The Society was founded in 1958 and is governed by a Constitution and Regulations, managed by a Council.
The objects of the AMS, as listed in the Constitution, are:
(a) to promote the scientific study of the mammals of the Australasian region;
(b) to provide opportunities for discussion and the dissemination of information among its Members by any appropriate means, including meetings and publications;
(c) to provide a body of informed opinion concerning the mammals of the Australasian region which may be consulted by other societies, institutions, bodies and persons;
(d) to promote the conservation of mammals; and
(e) to cooperate with other societies, institutions, bodies and persons to further any of these objects.
The early history of the Society was given as a reproductive allegory at the 45th Meeting of the Society, University of Western Sydney, 9 July 1999:
- 1958. Gamete formation. The idea was Gordon Lyne’s but it is not clear whether the gametes were his. Gordon was a Tasmanian who, after war service did a PhD at Cambridge and then took up a position with the Division of Animal Production, CSIRO, where he remained for his whole career. His interests were in the development of integument and hair and he used bandicoots as a model species for this research. With David Hollis he also published excellent papers on the reproduction and development of bandicoots. Gordon’s seminal role was recognised when the Society struck the Lyne Award.
- 23-24 August 1958. Conception. Immediately prior to the Australian & New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science gathering in Adelaide in 1958 a party comprising Gordon, Geoff Sharman, John Calaby, Shelly Barker and ace wombat catcher Alex Kowanko from the South Australian Museum, took a trip to Blanchetown to collect hearts from hairy nosed wombats for an English researcher. As John Calaby wrote in Possums and Gliders in 1984, nothing came of the heart research and Alex made the bodies into salami. But the idea for a Society was given form then.
- c.28 August 1958. Blastocyst formation. The following week a meeting was called during ANZAAS, chaired by Francis Ratcliffe and attended by the originals and four other mammalogists - Graham Chittleborough, Bill Dawbin, Tim Ealey, and John McNally. The meeting resolved to form the Australian Mammal Society and Shelly Barker became Secretary. He circulated the proposal to 26 practicing mammalogists in Australia. Twenty-four became the Foundation Members - and blastocyst formation was completed.