The Australian Government has awarded $36 million to a new research program led by Monash University, Securing Antarctica’s Environmental Future (SAEF).
Prof. Mark Stevens (South Australian Museum), Australia’s representative on the iBOL Science Committee, will participate in SAEF, focusing on the invertebrate biodiversity in Antarctic soils.
SAEF will include DNA barcoding work, and other next-generation sequencing studies, to explore marine and terrestrial biodiversity and to improve understanding of biosecurity threats and other challenges facing these delicate ecosystems. See this recent study on two Antarctic springtails (Collembola), which uses data from BOLD to interpret local diversity.
SAEF Director, Prof. Steven Chown, writes, “SAEF will conduct interdisciplinary research to forecast environmental change across the Antarctic region, to deploy effective environmental stewardship strategies in the face of this change, and to secure Antarctica as a natural reserve devoted to peace and science. SAEF will adopt a social-ecological systems approach that supports informed, future-ready environmental policy by combining theory, observations, modelling and data from different fields and at different resolutions with the information requirements for structured decision-making.”
Preserving the Antarctic and its biodiversity is a challenge shared by all nations. Barcoding and metabarcoding efforts by all researchers working in southern latitudes can contribute to understanding the structure of these ecosystems and to conserving them for future generations.
Mark Stevens – iBOL Science Committee Representative, Australia
International Barcode of Life Consortium
The International Barcode of Life (iBOL) Consortium is a research alliance with a mission to develop and apply a globally accessible, DNA-based system for the discovery and identification of all multicellular life. Our vision is to illuminate biodiversity for the benefit of our living planet.