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

P. Joana Dias, Seema Fotedar, Julieta Munoz, 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. Kuepper, 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 ommunities). 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
Pages (from-to)215-225
Number of pages11
JournalManagement of Biological Invasions
Issue number2
Early online date30 Dec 2016
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017
Event9th International Conference on Marine Bioinvasions (ICMB-IX) - Sydney, Australia
Duration: 19 Jan 201621 Jan 2016

Bibliographical note

We acknowledge field sample collection assistance of the WA
Government Department of Fisheries (DoF) Biosecurity Research and
Compliance teams in obtaining specimens of IMP present in Australia.
We also would like to acknowledge field sampling and cooperation of
stakeholders in WA. We are most grateful to everyone in Australia
and abroad that provided us with specimens including John Lewis at
ES Link Services, Craig Boys and Anthony Fowler at the NSW
Department of Primary Industries, Simon Grove and Kirrily Moore at
the Department of State Growth in Tasmania, and Matt Koopman at
Fishwell Consulting in Australia; Eric A. Hoffman at University of
Central Florida, Ximing Guo at Rutgers University, Steve Palumbi at
Stanford University, Charles Epifanio at the University of Delaware,
Toni Renee Ignoffo and Wim Kimmerer at San Francisco State
University, Joseph Pawlik and Jack Cushman Koch at the University
of North Carolina Wilmington and Kimberly S. Reece at the Virginia
Institute of Marine Science, USA; Keith Hiscock at Plymouth Marine
Biological Association and Elizabeth Cook at the Scottish Association
for Marine Science, UK; Per Jonsson and Gunnar Cervin at the
University of Gothenburg and Ann-Britt Florin at the Swedish
University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden; Bente Edvardsen and
Wenche Eikrem at the University of Oslo, Norway; Cynthia
McKenzie at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada; Annick
Verween at Ghent University, Belgium; Nathalie Cochennec-Laureau
at IFREMER, France; Bartlomiej Arciszewski at the University of
Gdansk, Poland; Marcus Anders Krag and Peter Rask Moller at the
Natural History Museum of Denmark; Taeko Kimura at Mie
University, Japan; Xiao Liu at the Institute of Oceanology in Qingdao,
China; Tsang Ling Ming at National Taiwan Ocean University; Ho
Young Soh at Chonnam National University, Republic of Korea;
Ronaldo Sousa at University of Minho and Alexandra Teodosio at the
University of Algarve, Portugal. We would like to acknowledge the
most valuable ongoing support of John Huisman at the Western
Australian Herbarium and Serena Wilkens and Mike Page at the New
Zealand Marine Invasive Taxonomic Service (MITS) and the National
Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA). Thank you to
Elena Kupriyanova at the Australian Museum Research Institute and
to Glenn Moore and Andrew Hosie at the Western Australian Museum
for taxonomic support. We are also grateful to Christine Shonberg at
the Australian Institute for Marine Science in WA for helpful
discussions about the sponge C. thoosina and to Ingrid Knapp,
Anuschka Faucci and Brian Neved at the University of Hawaii for
their time and effort attempting to collect specimens in Hawaii. Thank
you to two internal (DoF) reviewers and three anonymous referees for
their comments. Cornelia Jaspers received support from the Danish
Council for Independent Research (No.600207). This project was
financially supported by Chevron Australia and the WA Department
of Fisheries.


  • Introduced Marine Pests (IMP)
  • taxonomic voucher
  • cytochrome c oxidase I
  • COI
  • The Barcode of Life Data System
  • BoLD
  • marine biosecurity


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