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.
Gemfish in Australia are a single species, Rexea solandri (pictured). Given the vast size of Australia's southern coastline and the high biodiversity among other bony fish, it is unusual that there is only one species in Australia. Colleagues at Stellenbosch University in South Africa are undertaking a study of the family Gempylidae, to which the Australian species belong. Gempylids include the snake mackerels, snoeks, gemfishes, sackfishes, escolars, and the oilfish and are found around the world. There are 16 genera and 24 species. Most of the species are swift predators found in all oceans, usually in depths of 200-500 m, but often migrating to the surface at night. Studies of gempylid relationships are do not give a clear picture of their evolutionary relationships. The South Africa study will be the first large scale molecular investigation into evolutionary relationships in this family. Nine Australian gemfish samples collected during the MFL project will be sent to South Africa to be included in this study.
Andy Moore from ABARES (Canberra) visited MFL last week. Jenny and Andy worked together on the draft final report for the Gemfish project. They also worked on their presentation at the World Fisheries Congress, and discusses a range of problems facing Australian fisheries managers. Photo shows Andy (right) and Jenny (centre) after meeting with Dean Blower (left, PhD student) to talk over the role that Dean's population model could play in assessing spawning stock size of fisheries species.
Genetic analysis of the Gemfish south of Australia has been a major focus of work underway in the laboratory for several years. Details of the project will be discussed in a talk as part of the World Fisheries Congress in Korea in May 2016. The authors of the talk (Jenny Ovenden and Andy Moore) will argue that the project was an excellent example of translating scientific research into the practical needs of fisheries management. The talk will be presented as part of a special session 'Genomics for improved fisheries management, aquaculture and conservation: have the promises been fulfilled?'
We are keen to give you a brief snapshot of results of the gemfish project. As expected, the presence of two main stocks has been confirmed: one in the Great Australian Bight (GAB) and the other on the east coast of Australia. The amount of genetic difference between them is unusually large for a marine fish species. The scatterplot (DAPC) shows genetic differences between individual fish (dots) from various locations (in colour). There are at least two other, probably smaller stocks: one to the west of Bass Strait, the other on the west coast of Tasmania. Immigrants from adjacent stocks can be detected using genotyping. The migrants may have a limited capacity to contribute to local spawning. Comparisons between samples collected in 2014 (by this project) and 25 years ago (by a previous project) and among types of genetic markers suggests that gemfish stocks are experiencing pronounced genetic drift. The results have significant implications for the sustainable exploitation of the resource.
Andy Moore is visiting MFL this week to discuss outcomes of gemfish project. The project is addressing knowledge gaps about this important Australian fisheries resource. Andy, Jenny and Carlos are discussing new genetic information about gemfish populations from the project, and its significance for the sustainable management of the stocks in future. (left: Andy Moore, right: Carlos Bustamante). Jenny will be presenting the results for scientific questions and comment at the Australian Society for Fish Biology Conference in Sydney next month.
In project Gemfish, we are using newly-developed genetic markers to determine the number of fisheries stocks in southern Australia. Its standard practice to test the new genetic markers on related species. In most studies this helps to identify the wrong samples. But, this is not an issue for this study as there is only one gemfish (Rexea solandri) in Australia. To do the appropriate genetic tests, Andrea Armani from FishLab in Italy has sent us DNA from four related species from the northern Atlantic and northern Pacific Oceans and the Mediterranean Sea. One of them is the escolar (left) that looks pretty similar to the Australian gemfish.
Raptis & Sons P/L have found spawning gemfish in the Great Australian Bight. These fish will be important additions to the samples already taken for the Gemfish Project. Genetic and other analyses will determine if they represent the core of a separate stock in southern Australia. Thanks to Jim Raptis, Stu Bell and AFMA observer Jarrad James for finding and taking samples from these fish. The individuals were large and close to spawning (see photos). More samples from spawning gemfish are needed. Email Andy Moore <Anthony.Moore@agriculture.gov.au> or Russell Hudson from FishWell Consulting (Russell@fishwell.com.au) if you can help.
The final sampling program for the gemfish project is due to start soon. Our objective is to understand the number of fisheries stocks in the Great Australian Bight. The 2014/15 summer sampling program will be the last opportunity to include samples in this project. If you know where gemfish are spawning and can give us a hand getting samples, we’d like to hear from you now The best type of samples are fish that have just finished spawning (these fish are called ‘spent’). If we can get tissue samples from them, we will analyse their DNA to determine if they represent separate stocks. Email Andy Moore <Anthony.Moore@agriculture.gov.au> or Russell Hudson from FishWell Consulting (Russell@fishwell.com.au).
Thanks to Russell Hudson and Fishwell Consulting, the lab has received another batch of tissue samples for the gemfish project. The 233 tubes containing small pieces of fin have been labelled and stored at - 20 C in the laboratory. Important locations in eastern Great Australian Bight were sampled adjacent to Robe and Portsea. In addition, samples from the East coast fishery were received to confirm the distinction between this location and the Great Australian Bight fishery. The coming summer represents the last opportunity to obtain samples for genetic analysis of breeding populations in the Bight. The identification breeding populations relies on members of GABIA (Great Australian Bight Fishing Industry Associations) and other organisations to actively participate in the sampling program. Contact Andy Moore (project leader) for more information. Email him on firstname.lastname@example.org