Scientific research to aid snapper

A project led by Flinders University will aid the conservation of snapper stocks across Australia and New Zealand.

The $321,113 project will link five major state fisheries agencies with researchers to help determine management of snapper stocks.

Chief investigator and Flinders University molecular ecologist Professor Luciano Beheregaray said the project would look more closely at DNA by collecting data from thousands of genes compared to traditional genetic data based only on a handful of genes.

It will help to show for the first time how snapper adapt to their environment.

"Environmental data sets (sea surface temperature, currents, nutrients in the water) and genomic data sets will be analysed together to understand how environmental variation influences genomic variation," Prof Beheregaray said.

"This will inform on adaptation as well as on how different stocks might be able to adapt to future changes in the environment.

"The results of the project will be used by fisheries scientists to assist with the management of snapper stocks."

He said fisheries genomics was a new field of research but examples from the northern hemisphere had proven genomics substantially improved management of commercial species including lobster, cod, and herring.

"There will be good applied science to be produced from our work and some of that will be targeting questions about Spencer Gulf that are relevant to the Port Lincoln community," Prof Beheregaray said.