Spines, Stingers and Sensors

Oral Presentation | Pascal Craw

Date & Time: Thursday June 25 2020, 11:25


Author(s) Pascal Crawa, Sarah Stephensona, Middy Khonga, Dan Hugob, Brendan Coulsona

Affiliation(s) CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere, CSIRO Data61

New technology for monitoring species of relevance to the Great Barrier Reef.

DNA based methods & technology offer powerful tools for developing a better understanding of biological systems. Widely used molecular techniques such as Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and DNA sequencing are another line of evidence to understand the dynamics of marine species and communities. Within this work package, “Molecular Sensing” we have been evaluating these technologies as tools for monitoring Irukandji Jellyfish and Crown of Thorns Starfish on the Great Barrier reef.

Irukandji Jellyfish, specifically the common Irukandji Carukia barnesi, poses a threat to human health during the jellyfish season in tropical Australian Waters and their perceived risk has a detrimental impact on tourism. Whilst some high-risk areas have been identified very little is known about the distribution and dynamics of this species especially regarding the cryptic early life stages. Our work developing DNA based assays for this species will help provide valuable information on the location of this species in the wild and may allow the early detection of these organisms to prevent stings to humans.

Crown of thorns starfish threaten the GBR. In partnership with the Australian Institute of Marine Sciences we are evaluating the use of remotely deployable instruments to collect Environmental DNA (eDNA) samples which can be used to detect and quantify COTS on the GBR. The ability to automate eDNA sample collection will allow greater resolution sampling which will in turn provide more data on COTS presence and density to inform management decisions.

Presenting Author

Pascal Craw

Research Scientist
CSIRO – Oceans & Atmosphere

Pascal Is a research scientist within the CSIRO Oceans & Atmosphere business unit. Pascal is a molecular biologist with an interest in molecular tools for monitoring the marine environment and employing novel technology to better understand the marine environment.