Quantifying the biodiversity value of Restricted Access Marine Areas using eDNA and stereo-video
Marine parks and protected areas can increase biodiversity values. Restricted access marine areas (RAMAs) around oil and gas infrastructure also have the potential to provide benefits to marine biodiversity. To better understand the value of such areas, my project aims to accurately define population estimates for protected, threatened and endangered species and associations of key-fishery species both in and around RAMAs. Having designed an easily-deployable system capable of collecting water samples, 360° stereo-video and oceanographic covariates, I hope to provide unique datasets and time-series across a range of spatial and temporal scales to monitor, understand and predict ecosystem structure, thus better informing marine policy and regulation for RAMAs.
In 2014, I graduated with a bachelor of Science with a first class honours in biochemistry from the University of Kent, U.K. During this time I developed a keen interest in genetics and undertook a phylogenetic research project (computational) related to myosin motor domains and the marine chordate amphioxus. I then found work for the next few years as an analytical chemist for a pharmaceutical company, working on late-stage in-vitro R&D for a dry-powder inhaler for asthma/COPD. In 2018, I completed a master of science in biological oceanography, conducting preliminary research into abyssal ecosystem structure at potential deep-sea mining locations in the central Pacific Ocean. Having moved to Perth in 2019 to work as an oceanographer (and for the weather), I discovered this project at UWA investigating biodiversity and societal benefits of restricted access areas - providing a unique opportunity to combine interests in genetics, marine ecology and laboratory method development. I would like to use the skills and knowledge I gain from this project to enhance understanding of how eDNA can be used as an ecosystem monitoring tool and how it can be more effectively combined with classical techniques to increase observational ability, therefore allowing us to better elucidate drivers of change within marine and terrestrial ecosystems.
[Professor Simon Jarman (UWA/CSIRO)(https://research-repository.uwa.edu.au/en/persons/simon-jarman “Simon Jarman”) Dr. Tim Langlois (UWA) Professor Gary Kendrick (UWA) Associate Professor Julian Partridge (UWA)
Indian Ocean Marine Research Centre
School of Biological Sciences (M470)
35 Stirling Highway, Crawley WA 6009