Blog

Biosecurity and the Museum

By: Dr Shane Ahyong, Category: Science, Date: 07 Nov 2014

The Australian Museum has a crucial role to play in maintaining Australia's biosecurity.

Polychaete - Sabellastarte sp.

Polychaete - Sabellastarte sp.
Photographer: Gary Cranitch © Gary Cranitch

A government enquiry into environmental biosecurity in Australia invited the Australian Museum to present evidence.

The invitation followed the Museum’s written submission to the enquiry which is being conducted by the Australian Senate Standing Committee on Environment and Communications.

While some introduced species have no known ill-effects, others pose major threats to our ecosystems, crops and aquaculture, often causing damage costing millions of dollars.

The Museum’s submission stressed the critical role of early detection and correct identification in minimising the threat and impact of introduced pest species.

Expert researchers at the Australian Museum Research Institute can authoritatively identify introduced marine and terrestrial animals – a crucial step in the development of effective control programs.

The Museum’s submission stressed the need for its researchers to be included in the development of lists of target pest species used by biosecurity enforcement agencies. It also noted the need for baseline surveys and regular surveillance, especially in the marine environment, to detect new invasive species.

Senior Australian Museum research scientists appeared at the public hearing of the Committee on Tuesday 11 November 2014.

Read the Museum’s full submission here.