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 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.
Watch Michelle's talk on experimental study of environmental DNA & RNA fate for biosecurity applications, presented at the first Australia & New Zealand eDNA webinar.
An experimental study was conducted to test different filter membranes for capturing eDNA/eRNA in the context of cost/time effort and cell fractions encountered in nature. For the first time a formal efficiency modelling was applied in eDNA and eRNA research to assist decision-making around an optimized sampling approach.
With the experienced science teacher onboard we are aiming to develop an engaging educational toolkit that brings eDNA technologies into the classroom, introducing students to the cutting edge molecular technologies and building up a strong sense of kaitiakitanga for their local environment.
Welcome our new PhD researcher - Michelle Scriver. By answering critical questions regarding eDNA distribution in coastal waters and where, when, and how to sample, her project will contribute to optimized and more efficient detection of marine pests.
In the last two years the Detect team worked towards integrating DNA (eDNA) tools into New Zealand schools’ curriculum. The scientists have actively engaged with a range of schools and year groups to showcase a variety of marine biosecurity concepts and detection tools, including eDNA technologies.
In 2021, the DETECT team had a big year on the water participating in two research expeditions, in two very distant and ecologically different areas of Aotearoa: Northland and Fiordland. These expeditions allowed us to collect valuable data on distribution of the high-profile non-indigenous species while testing our optimized molecular surveillance tools and protocols.
Lessons from an international cross-laboratory experiment on delivering reproducible metabarcoding data
Acknowledging the need for a coordinated effort to accelerate the uptake of high-throughput sequencing (HTS) based tools for biodiversity surveys and biosecurity applications, an international cross-laboratory experiment was conducted to evaluate replicability of a metabarcoding protocol and explore how laboratory-based variance in sample handling and processing impacts biodiversity assessments.