Kay Weltz (PhD student from the University of Tasmania) is working on the development of new genetic markers for research into a rare species of skate. The markers will allow Kay to investigate the number of separate populations of this species, and to understand aspects of their reproductive behaviour. Kay is supervised by Jayson Semmens and Jeremy Lyle (University of Tasmania) and Jennifer Ovenden (University of Queensland).
The Maugean skate (Zearaja maugeana) is found only estuarine embayments on the isolated western coast of Tasmania in southern Australia. PhD student Ms Kay Weltz (left, shown here discussing DNA results with MFL associate Jess Morgan) is using genetic markers to study the biology of this unique elasmobranch species. Kay is visiting MFL from the University of Tasmania (Hobart) until end of July 2014. Kay's study species is sister species to the skate species harvested in Chile, and the subject of another MFL project.
Peter Last from CSIRO Hobart gave MFL postgraduate student Carolina Vargas-Caro expert advice on skate species identification. Peter Last and John Stevens are authors of "Sharks and Rays of Australia" Carolina is working on the Chilean skate project. The main objective of that project is to resolve population structure using genetics. The first essential step is to identify the species of skate in Chile.
Our collaborators from the University in Valdivia (Universidad Austral de Chile) have kindly sent us the first batch of skate tissue samples from Chilean waters. Around 200 samples from two commercially important species (yellownose and roughskin skates) will be used to provide important new information about the genetic population structure in Chilean waters. Carolina Vargas-Caro, Carlos Bustamante Diaz and Jenny Ovenden from MFL will be working together with the University in Valdivia and the Chilean government to assist with plans to ensure the sustainable harvest of these fisheries. Carolina (pictured) has been cataloging the samples in the MFL.
This pamphlet is a jargon-free zone for everyone interested the sustainable exploitation and conservation of marine and freshwater fishes. A download link to the pdf document can be found here.
MFL welcomes PhD student Ms Carolina Vargas-Caro. Carolina's supervisors are Jennifer Ovenden, Mike Bennett and Ian Tibbetts and her thesis title is "Biological assessment of skate fisheries in the south-east Pacific Ocean".