Collaborations extend beyond Heron Island expedition

Ocean Genome Legacy Foundation Staff Scientist, Abby Fusaro.
Image: Gary Cranitch


Friday 20 November 2009
CReefs Australia has produced some invaluable international collaborations.
The Ocean Genome Legacy, based in Massachusetts, United States, has begun working with the Queensland Museum's Centre for Biodiversity to help sequence its entire collection of octocorals.
In addition, the organisation is in the early stages of assisting the museum's parasitologist, Tom Cribb, by extracting the DNA from an archival collection of fish parasites stored in alcohol.
The partnerships are the result of both organisations' direct involvement in the CReefs Australia project.
OGL Staff Scientist Abby Fusaro said the organisation relied heavily on the expert knowledge and collections from a network of collaborators around the world.
"Engaging researchers who are knowledgeable about their taxa offers us the expertise we can't do without," Abby said.
She is also assisting Australian Museum Senior Principal Research Scientist Pat Hutchings and Postdoctoral Researcher Maria Capa in defining the taxonomic relationships of polychaetes, and Melbourne Museum Associate Professor Phil Bock in his identification of bryozoa.
She said the collaborations would assist in the collection of molecular data.
"It's fun having your hands in everyone's work," she said.
Abby will return to the United States with around 900 species samples, which she will further process before the data is registered with the organisation's collection.
Next year OGL will launch an online catalogue of its collection, making sequence data publicly available and providing access to DNA extracts for scientific research.