The PacMAN project will be developed with strong local stakeholder involvement. Local scientists and professionals will be planning and implementing the monitoring. In addition the plan includes training in all parts of the sampling process as well as data management to ensure the sustainable development and use of the monitoring plan.
The first PacMAN scientific training course will take part in November 2022, and will deal with the scientific training of local stakeholders in marine invasive species and molecular methods used for monitoring. A second training course is planned for 2023, and will train environmental managers in the use of the decision support tool.
The first hybrid course contains both online and on-site training. The course will be hosted on the Ocean Teacher Global Academy e-learning platform, and at the USP Suva campus. The training course will provide an introduction to sample collection and sorting, including taxonomy and processing for DNA extraction, eDNA and qPCR analyses, as well as a quick guide on the use of bioinformatics for sequence analysis to in-country (Fiji) managers and technical staff.
By the end of the course the participants should be able to:
- Collect samples through the various methods used in PacMAN
- Understand the benefits and challenges of eDNA sampling and its use in biodiversity monitoring.
- Understand the processes involved in taxonomy (e.g. gross sorting, routine simplified processing and identification steps to group organisms and record this information appropriately).
- Know how to conduct DNA extractions on 3 different marine sample types as well as troubleshooting any problems
- Know how to conduct PCR amplification and understand the principles of metabarcoding
- Run qPCR analyses for target organisms using established probes
- Run a query search on global databases after sequence information is received
- Entering data and understand the basics of sequence analysis with bioinformatics
All of the course Marine Invasive Species Early Detection: Utilising Molecular Tools (blended training course) materials will be available online after the course is finalised.