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  • Writer's pictureLuminocean

Bioblitz for Monitoring Invasive Species

We invited students and alumni from Hatta-Sjahrir Fisheries school on Banda Naira to conduct a bioblitz. Bioblitz means that people get together to collect as much information as possible on a biological subject in a short amount of time. Our bioblitz was collecting pictures of the biofouling community in the natural harbour of the Banda Islands. Aim is to get information on the specis that occur naturally and identify any potential non-native ones.

We started with a presentation on the topic to bring everyone on the same page. Then, with everyone knowing what invasive species are and how to use the app iNaturalist to share and obtain information, we did a dive with 10 people and 5 cameras to take pictures of all sponges, seasquirts, bryozoans, fan worms and algae that are dominating the fouling communities. These pictures were then uploaded to iNaturalist and when adding the GPS location and organisms phylum, were automatically included in the project "Bioinvasion Monitoring Indonesia". This project gives information to Indonesian researchers studying marine biological invasions and will allow them to look bck in future and know what species were at what location at what time.

A week later, the group of young Bandanese researchers went back to take voucher samples of those species that were most represented and where additional ID might be needed. These samples were carefully ohotographed again and a small part of tissue preserved for later genetic identification. DNA extraction and genetic barcoding cannot be done at Hatta-Sjahrir school on Banda so far because specific laboratory infrastructure would be needed. Instead the samples can be shared to researchers in Indonesia who are interested in the samples, and have resources and laboratory facilities available. Maybe one day, we can also teach students from Hatta-Sjahrir on Banda how to extract DNA and continue working on the samples.

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