Establishment of a taxonomic and molecular reference collection to support the identification of species regulated by the Western Australian Prevention List for Introduced Marine Pests

Joana P. Dias, Seema Fotedar, Julieta Muenoz, Matthew J. Hewitt, Sherralee Lukehurst, Mathew Hourston, Claire Wellington, Roger Duggan, Samantha Bridgwood, Marion Massam, Victoria Aitken, Paul de Lestang, Simon McKirdy, Richard Willan, Lisa Kirkendale, Jennifer Giannetta, Maria Corsini-Foka, Steve Pothoven, Fiona Gower, Frédérique ViardChristian Buschbaum, Giuseppe Scarcella, Pierluigi Strafella, Melanie J. Bishop, Timothy Sullivan, Isabella Buttino, Hawis Madduppa, Mareike Huhn, Chela J. Zabin , Karolina Bacela-Spychalska, Dagmara Wójcik-Fudalewska, Alexandra Markert, Alexey Maximov, Lena Kautsky, Cornelia Jaspers, Jonne Kotta, Merli Pärnoja, Daniel Robledo, Konstantinos Tsiamis, Frithjof C. Küpper, Ante Žuljević, Justin I. McDonald, Michael Snow

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Introduced Marine Pests (IMP, = non-indigenous marine species) prevention, early detection and risk-based management strategies have become the priority for biosecurity operations worldwide, in recognition of the fact that, once established, the effective management of marine pests can rapidly become cost prohibitive or impractical. In Western Australia (WA), biosecurity management is guided by the “Western Australian Prevention List for Introduced Marine Pests” which is a policy tool that details species or genera as being of high risk to the region. This list forms the basis of management efforts to prevent introduction of these species, monitoring efforts to detect them at an early stage, and rapid response should they be detected. It is therefore essential that the species listed can be rapid and confidently identified and discriminated from native species by a range of government and industry stakeholders. Recognising that identification of these species requires very specialist expertise which may be in short supply and not readily accessible in a regulatory environment, and the fact that much publicly available data is not verifiable or suitable for regulatory enforcement, the WA government commissioned the current project to collate a reference collection of these marine pest specimens. In this work, we thus established collaboration with researchers worldwide in order to source representative specimens of the species listed. Our main objective was to build a reference collection of taxonomically vouchered specimens and subsequently to generate species-specific DNA barcodes suited to supporting their future identification. To date, we were able to obtain specimens of 75 species (representative of all but four of the pests listed) which have been identified by experts and placed with the WA Government Department of Fisheries and, where possible, in accessible museums and institutions in Australasia. The reference collection supports the fast and reliable taxonomic and molecular identification of marine pests in WA and constitutes a valuable resource for training of stakeholders with interest in IMP recognition in Australia. The reference collection is also useful in supporting the development of a variety of DNA-based detection strategies such as real-time PCR and metabarcoding of complex environmental samples (e.g. biofouling communities). The
Prevention List is under regular review to ensure its continued relevance and that it remains evidence and risk-based. Similarly, its associated reference collection also remains to some extent a work in progress. In recognition of this fact, this report seeks to provide details of this continually evolving information repository publicly available to the biosecurity management community worldwide
Original languageEnglish
JournalManagement of Biological Invasions
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)215-225
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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