Biomarkers for animal life history

Cane lobster pots in the foreground in front of fishing boats at Apollo Bay

Simple tests that can provide the age, sex and maturity of fish or animals would benefit fisheries and wildlife management. Credit: Bernard Spragg, Flikr CC.

Effective wildlife management relies on having a detailed understanding of the capacity of wild populations to grow or sustain harvest. Important life-history attributes that can inform this understanding include the age, sex, maturity, and prior reproductive output of numerous individuals in a population. Yet, many of these traits are difficult to measure.

Previously, we developed a novel epigenomic approach to determining the age of fishes and marine turtles. This approach is being adopted by government and industry and being deployed at scale for multiple harvested and vulnerable species.

In this project we will extend our scope to develop biomarkers for a variety of other significant life history traits, with a focus on developing cost-effective assays that can be deployed for the management of fisheries and wildlife.

Lead: Ben Mayne