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Development and evaluation of a PCR based test for detection of Asterias (Echinodermata: Asteroidea) larvae in plankton samples from ballast water


Deagle, BE and Bax, NJ and Hewitt, CL and Patil, JG, Development and evaluation of a PCR based test for detection of Asterias (Echinodermata: Asteroidea) larvae in plankton samples from ballast water, Marine and Freshwater Research, 54, (6) pp. 709-719. ISSN 1323-1650 (2003) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2003 CSIRO

DOI: doi:10.1071/MF03031


The northern Pacific seastar, Asterias amurensis, spread to Tasmania in the 1980s from its native range in the North Pacific. The seastar has subsequently established in Port Phillip Bay on mainland Australia. Transportation of larvae in ballast water is one vector for these introductions and is likely to contribute to additional range expansion of this species. Larval identification methods are critical to assess risks of further transport to uninvaded ecosystems; however, morphological identification of larval asteroids is impractical and unreliable. Therefore, we have developed a sensitive PCR-based method that specifically detects Asterias DNA. The method works on isolated seastar larva, mixed plankton and ballast water samples. Trials using uninfected ballast water samples spiked with known numbers of A. amurensis larvae indicate that the technique can detect single larva in 200 mg of plankton. The test also detects other Asterias species; therefore, discrimination between seastars within the genus Asterias was accomplished using denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE). Currently, this method is being used to facilitate research on ballast water transport, distribution and the ecology of A. amurensis larvae. The general approach can be expanded to provide a rapid and cost-effective approach for detecting a suite of marine species in ballast water and environmental samples.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology)
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Marine systems and management
Objective Field:Oceanic processes (excl. in the Antarctic and Southern Ocean)
UTAS Author:Deagle, BE (Dr Bruce Deagle)
UTAS Author:Bax, NJ (Professor Nicholas Bax)
UTAS Author:Hewitt, CL (Professor Chad Hewitt)
UTAS Author:Patil, JG (Dr Jawahar Patil)
ID Code:46855
Year Published:2003
Web of Science® Times Cited:51
Deposited By:Australian Maritime College
Deposited On:2007-09-21
Last Modified:2014-11-03

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