This research theme focuses on non-indigenous species (NIS) that slip through the border and become introduced to New Zealand’s aquatic environments. Despite substantial biosecurity surveillance efforts, current approaches often fail to promptly detect risky species before they establish or spread too widely. This delay reduces opportunities for a successful response. This research theme will focus on developing and operationalising molecular surveillance technologies (i.e. sampling devices, designs and strategies) for biosecurity applications in natural, urban, and farmed marine environments.
Marine Biosecurity Toolbox equips Curious Minds project to ignite students’ interest in marine conservation
Collaboration with the Sails for Science NZ outreach program, engaging year 10 students in student-led detection of invasive species in the marine environment using molecular surveillance.
A new online tool called the Pest Alert Tool has been developed to screen high-throughput sequencing datasets for species of concern, providing a valuable resource for biodiversity management.
Scientists conducted a hands-on educational event at Nayland College, engaging hundreds of Year 9 students in activities related to marine biosecurity. The event aimed to inspire the students, build scientific literacy, and create pathways for future scientists.
Harnessing decay rates for coastal marine biosecurity applications: A review of environmental DNA and RNA fate
A review on the degradation mechanisms and fate of environmental nucleic acids (eNAs) in the marine environment, providing guidelines for accurate decay rates and emphasizing their importance in building effective marine biosecurity tools for target detection and biodiversity assessment.
Marine Biosecurity Toolbox scientist Dr Ulla von Ammon joined the BLAKE Expedition and shared with the expedition team the eDNA tools, including the newly designed Cruising Speed Net, for detecting unwanted organisms in marine environments.
New best-practice guidelines for environmental DNA testing in Australia and New Zealand aim to enhance quality assurance and decision-making
Newly introduced best-practice guidelines for environmental DNA (eDNA) testing in Australia and New Zealand provide standardized methods and quality assurance measures to support pest detection, biodiversity monitoring, and species identification.
A recent study explored new methods for marine surveillance using eDNA. The researchers compared traditional filtration methods with passive sampling and self-contained DNA extraction. Passive sampling using materials like artificial sponges and fishing nets showed similar results to active filtration in detecting fish diversity. The study suggests that passive sampling is a promising approach for eDNA monitoring and contribute to improving non-invasive monitoring techniques for marine environments.
A rapid molecular assay for detecting the Mediterranean fanworm developed by DETECT team and trialed by non-scientist users
Learn about the new species-specific recombinase polymerase amplification (RPA) assay designed for the fanworm detection from eDNA samples and insights on its applicability for citizen scientists-driven biosecurity surveillance.