Wunambal Gaambera collaboration with CSIRO

on 06 Feb 2013 

In January Wunambal Gaambera collaborated with CSIRO on a insect genetics survey in the rainforest patches of the Kimberley.

Traditional Owners joined the scientists each day to chopper out to sites to sample insects using malaise traps and litter samples. CSIRO are testing a new technique called rapid ecogenomics where instead of identifying each specimen by laborous taxonomy, they stick it in a blender and let the molecular techniques tell the story. They take photos of specimens before they blend them up and lodge them on the Atlas of Living Australia, to be linked to the genetic sequences later. Rainforests patches are like islands each patch often has its own endemic land snail or other invertebrate so it presents a good habitat to test the technique.

It was pretty physically trying conditions with rain, heat, humidity and rough terrain but was a good experience for all. Some of our Uunguu Rangers got some good field and lab experience out of it and we have some good links with CSIRO now that may lead to other opportunities.