From catching sharks to catching their DNA
Our team has been involved in a recently published study developing an assay that will allow for the rapid detection of tiger shark, bull shark and white shark DNA in water samples. This method provides a cost-effective and non-invasive alternative for monitoring sharks along the east coast of Australia and potentially elsewhere.
Current monitoring programs rely on the SMART (Shark-Management-Alert-in-Real-Time) methods that include drum lines and mesh nets to catch, tag, and monitor shark movement. However, these methods are laborious, costly, and involve the capture of only a fraction of the total shark population.
Human-shark interactions are increasing worldwide, and in Australia tiger sharks, white sharks and bull sharks are the species responsible for most injuries and fatalities in Australia. This paper shows how eDNA could be utilised as an efficient, cost-effective, and non-invasive method for monitoring these species.
This study was recently published in journal, Environmental DNA: Access the paper online
Anthony van Rooyen; Adam D. Miller; Zach Clark; Craig D. H. Sherman; Paul A. Butcher; Justin R. Rizzari; Andrew R. Weeks
Cesar Australia, Deakin University, New South Wales Department of Primary Industries, The University of Melbourne
New South Wales Department of Primary Industries, Portland House Foundation