BIOSCAN in Australia

BIOSCAN in Australia

This thread is for general exploration of actual and possible BIOSCAN activities within Australia. If appropriate, subtopics will be broken out into separate threads for more focused discussion. This opening post will be maintained as an introduction and overview of discussion topics.

Discuss the development of BIOSCAN in Australia below.

Opportunities

Bioplatforms Australia (BPA, funded by the Australian Government under NCRIS) supports, or has supported, several major genomics projects that offer potential for synergy, including:

Some of these depend on access to reference barcodes and others will deliver sequences for barcode regions as a result of more extensive genomics activity.

Other NCRIS-funded infrastructures include the Terrestrial Ecological Research Network (TERN) and the Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS), with responsibility respectively for monitoring of terrestrial and marine ecosystems.

In the case of TERN, this includes a plot surveilance network that spreads across most Australian terrestrial ecosystems and includes a focus on surveying and monitoring biodiversity at these locations.

Federal and State agencies have a requirement for biodiversity data to support conservation, biosecurity and various regulatory processes. Cost-effective delivery of data to meet regulatory needs (e.g EPA reporting) may be of benefit both to government stakeholders and to industry proponents.

There is significant citizen science activity and interest in native biodiversity, with this strongly centered on the major cities and their surroundings. These offer scope for good collaborations, provided protocols include opportunity for citizen scientists to benefit and learn from the activity, and perhaps subject to careful communication around the need for organisms to be collected.

Challenges

The landscape of existing investments in biodiversity research and monitoring in genomics infrastructure and research is already complex and crowded. This represents an opportunity for BIOSCAN to increase synergy and to assist with reuse and wider exploitation of research effort and outputs, including integrating BIOSCAN collecting activity into existing programs and sites and multiple use of samples and specimens, DNA and sequence data to support a suite of outputs. However, it also makes it harder to articulate clearly exactly what BIOSCAN is and how it complements and supplements these other efforts.

The remote nature of many research sites, including many of those operated by TERN, has implications for the adoption of BIOSCAN protocols that require regular collection and processing of samples (e.g. weekly malaise trap samples). BIOSCAN activity in remote ecosystems is likely to require modifications to address this factor.