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.
A cruising speed net (CSN) device with a modified cod-end provides a streamlined process that combines high-speed towing with innovative filtration, showcasing the potential to transform the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of eDNA isolation.
Harnessing environmental DNA to reveal biogeographical patterns of non‑indigenous species for improved co‑governance of the marine environment in Aotearoa New Zealand
A case study on using eDNA to enhance marine biosecurity in New Zealand has recently been published in collaboration with the Sea Education Association, Woods Hole, the Northland Regional Council and Patuharakeke Te Iwi Trust.
As part of the MBIE-funded ‘Transforming Coastal Monitoring’ research programme, the Detect team went on another mission of eDNA outreach to the Otawhiwhi Marae in Tauranga Moana to showcase some of the eDNA tools developed in the Biosecurity Toolbox programme.
The Marine Biosecurity Toolbox “Detect” team recently held an environmental DNA (eDNA) biosecurity workshop during the CAWTHRON INSPIRE Festival.
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.