Congratulations to MFL senior fellow and ABARES scientist Andy Moore who received $1,072,045 from the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC) to conduct a National Social and Economic Survey of Recreational Anglers in conjunction with the University of Canberra. The study will commence early 2019 and run for 12 months. The survey will collect information on participation, catch and release, expenditure, regional economic flows, social benefits, bait use, biosecurity and wellbeing associated with recreational fishing throughout Australia. The study will implement novel techniques to screen and survey the Australian population and determine technical biases in survey methodologies. Next trip to MFL at UQ, Andy will talk about the details of this project.
Ever wondered about the effective population size of your favourite species? NeOGen allows you to make a population of many thousands of individuals matching a species with overlapping generations and the life-history characters that you enter. Once you set this up, you can try different sampling schemes (varying numbers of individuals and genetic loci) to see how well the estimate matches the 'true' effective size of the population. You can also generate populations of different sizes to match the effective size that you have measured in the wild. Read more and download it here. Read the paper here.
Kay Weltz and co-authors have new paper on the Maugean skate (Zearaja maugeana). They report no detectable genetic variation in the gene regions assayed in the mitochondrial genome. Variation in the nuclear genome was also low, with only eight out of 96 microsatellite loci showing any alternate alleles. The species is likely to be uniquely adapted for survival in the confined waters of the Macquarie Harbour (Tasmania), where it is exclusively found. Low genetic diversity suggests it may struggle with the rapid environmental changes potentially leading to extinction. Read more here. Weltz K, Lyle JM, Semmens JM, Ovenden JR (2018) Population genetics of the endangered Maugean skate (Zearaja Maugeana). Conservation Genetics Early on line Nov 2018 doi:10.1007/s10592-018-1117-0
For those interested in elasmobranch research, there is a new publication coming soon from CRC Press. If you are interested in population genetics, then go to this chapter for the latest information. Ovenden J., Dudgeon C., Feutry P., Feldheim K., Maes G. E. (2019) Genetics and Genomics for Fundamental and Applied Research on Elasmobranchs. In: Shark Research. Emerging Technologies and Applications for the Field and Laboratory. (eds. Carrier JC, Heithaus MR, Simpfendorfer C), pp. 235-253. Taylor and Francis Group, Boca Raton.
A newly published study led by Samuel Williams used genetic analyses to show that the numbers of marlin caught by various fisheries worldwide may be incorrect. Without features such as fins and bills (that are commonly removed to prepare product for market), even the experts have great difficulty in correctly identifying marlin species. This is a problem because counts of individuals are used to monitor fishing impact on populations. Mistakes at this level can lead to incorrect assessments of the capacity of the populations to sustain fishing. Read more here. Congratulations to Sam for completing the requirements for the award of PhD at the University of Queensland. Caption: Julian Pepperell (left) and Sam working with harvested marlin.
Andy Moore (Molecular Fisheries Laboratory Associate) visited UQ today for talks with Jenny. Andy is based at the Bureau of Agricultural and Resources Economics and Sciences in Canberra. He works on a range of topics including quantitative stock assessments, fisheries status reporting, genetics, and recreational fishing surveys. Andy is currently primary investigator on a national social and economic recreational fishing survey and a national survey of the catch of southern Bluefin tuna in Australia, as well as a scientific member on Recfishing Research, the Victorian RAC, the Great Australian Bight Resource Assessment Group. Left: Andy's seminar on designing research surveys for estimating blue fin tuna recreational catch was well attended at the EcoSciences Precinct. Thanks to Jess Morgan.
The visit by Professor Dan Heath from University of Windsor (Canada) came to an end on 24th April 2018. As well as enjoying the fabulous University of Queensland campus and mild weather, Dan collaborated with Jenny and MFL members on eDNA and transcriptome projects. We look forward to further visits!