Marine Biosecurity Toolbox Research Programme wins science award

10 April 2024

The Cawthron-led Marine Biosecurity Toolbox Research Programme has won the 2024 New Zealand Biosecurity Awards Science Prize for its groundbreaking work to transform the detection and elimination of invasive marine pests through molecular surveillance technology and analytical platforms. 

The five-year programme is focused on protecting New Zealand’s marine environments from the impacts of non-indigenous species by developing transformative tools that empower regulators, industry, mana whenua, and the community to effectively manage risk pathways, prevent pest establishment, and detect and respond to new incursions.

The range of tools allow for timely detection to disrupt critical stages of the invasion process through specialised water sampling linking to an app for automated alert systems that enhance the delivery of a robust marine biosecurity system.

Rapid, cheap and effective molecular sampling tools, analytical platforms and protocols have dramatically improved New Zealand’s ability to detect and monitor marine pests.

Through its work, the programme is fostering a new generation of biosecurity scientists, working in collaboration with Māori-led research for implementing mātauranga Māori and science collaboration for biosecurity outcomes.

To find out more about the resources and tools produced through the programme, visit the website.

Many thanks to our Programme researchers, partners and collaborators, including:

  • Juliane Chetham and David Milner of Patuharakeke Te Iwi Trust
  • Jo-Ann Stanton, Neil Gemmell, Jackson Treece, Jonika Edgecombe, Benjamín Alexander Durán-Vinet, and Gert-Jan Jeunen of University of Otago
  • Jas Pal Badyal and Joe Rawlinson of Durham University
  • Katie Dafforn and Dayanitha Damodaran of Macquarie University
  • Eric Treml, Simone Stevenson, Kyle Hilliam, Cal Faubel and Jess Phipps of Deakin University
  • Richard Yao, Melissa Welsh, Marie-Joo Le Guen, Rob Whitton, Sumanth Ranganathan and Julio Botero of Scion
  • Oli Floerl of landwaterpeople
  • Anastasija Zaiko of Sequench
  • Grant Hopkins, Patrick Cahill, Xavier Pochon, Ulla von Ammon, Ian Davidson, Javier Atalah, Paul South, Ross Vennell, Michelle Scriver, Alaric McCarthy, Malcolm Smeaton, Te Rerekohu Tuterangiwhiu and Charlotte Jarvis of Cawthron Institute,
  • End-user partners at Auckland Council, Northland Regional Council, Marlborough District Council, Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), Nelson College and Nelson College for Girls.




Image: Stuart Anderson of NZ Biosecurity and Cawthron’s Dr Ulla von Ammon and Dr Ian Davidson.

Image: The Programme team at a Northland hui in 2022.

Share this article