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.
An open-access peer-reviewed publication aimed to facilitate dialogue and innovation within this sector by reviewing current approaches for sample collection, post-sampling capture and concentration of eDNA, preservation, and extraction, all through a biosecurity monitoring lens.
Follow-up updates on the development and testing of the point-of-need molecular assay for detecting the invasive Mediterranean fanworm from environmental samples.
Sampling optimization for molecular biosecurity surveillance – results from an expedition onboard the Robert C. Seamans (SEA, Woods Hole)
In February 2020, our postdoc Ulla von Ammon embarked the Robert C. Seamans sailing ship to collect samples for comparing different sampling approaches. The first results of this study were recently presented at the DNAQUA International Conference.
Teaming-up with the Five Million: Exploring motivation of Kiwis to participate in the detection of marine pests
To get a glimpse of citizens’ attitudes towards biosecurity in the marine environment and marine pest detection activities, the programme team run a focus group in collaboration with partner schools in Nelson.
We have started to employ modelling approaches to better understand and predict the dispersal of eDNA in the marine environment. Learn about our first field sampling campaign for testing whether the developed model can robustly predict where and when in the tidal cycle eDNA can be detected.
Right on-the-spot! How a human biologist became engaged in developing a rapid molecular test for marine pest detection
Learn how Martin Zirngibl is contributing his knowledge and skills gained in a human biology field to developing a rapid and easy-to-apply in-field test for the Mediterranean fanworm detection.
We have commenced a series of hands-on activities with partner teachers to introduce them to key concepts in marine ecology and biosecurity, molecular methods and useful resources for incorporation into the schools’ curriculum and for future citizen scientists engaged in molecular biosecurity surveillance.
Better ways to capture DNA and RNA from water – collaboration with Dr. Holly Bowers from Moss Landing Marine Labs
Holly Bowers joined our group as a visiting researcher and worked with the DETECT and ECONOMICS & DECISION-SUPPORT teams to define better (and more efficient) methods to capture nucleic acids (environmental DNA and RNA) from marine waters.