The Subterranean Fauna Research Program continues to generate strong support from industry, government and others, with biodiversity science expertise contributed from multiple disciplines.
Since the publication of the Research Update 2021, projects continue to make good progress:
- A scoping exercise for Pilbara crustaceans (amphipods, isopods, bathynellaceans) is well underway to locate, assess and organise collections, track down sequence data and develop a database for eriopisid amphipod samples and sequences to support taxonomic research.
- Researchers are undertaking taxonomic work on eriopisidae and describing a new genus of eriopisids from the Pilbara and Barrow Island, using new methods of diagnosing species.
- A paper has been published titled Cryptic diversity down under: defining species in the subterranean amphipod genus Nedsia Barnard & Williams, 1995 (Hadzioidea: Eriopisidae) from the Pilbara, Western Australia in Invertebrate Systematics (https://doi.org/10.1071/IS21041)
- Subterranean pseudoscorpions (genus Ideoblothrus) lodged in the WA Museum have been examined using both morphological and molecular data, and they have been assembled into 18 species. All species are short-range endemics, and most are restricted to individual mesas.
- A PhD student appointed at UWA is developing a project to investigate optimal sampling strategies and 3D modelling of subterranean fauna habitats using techniques derived from geosciences and Bayesian statistics.
- A recent review of eDNA methods and their application to subterranean ecosystems has been published in the journal Science of the Total Environment (Open Access: Science of the Total Environment 820 (2022) 153223)
- Discussions are underway with Curtin University regarding student projects focusing on ecological questions.
We invite new partners to engage in leading subterranean fauna research that will deliver real world outcomes, increase knowledge and help lift certainty to enable more informed management decisions.
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