Having Fun to Know Marine Biodiversity Through the Latest Molecular Genetic Approach

On 4-6 October 2019, Udayana University (Unud) Postgraduate Program and Indonesian Biodiversity Foundation (BIONESIA) in collaboration with the Indonesian Biodiversity Research Center (IBRC) and Diponegoro Marine Biodiversity Project (DMBP) -Diponegoro University conducted a workshop on biodiversity assessment with the title " Advanced Molecular Genetic Methods for Biodiversity Assessment ". This workshop is part of the PEER Science the program is supported by USAID. This workshop is located at the IBRC Field Laboratory, Pemuteran-Bali, and aims to introduce methods that can be used to assess and measure the biodiversity of an ecosystem. In addition, this workshop also aims to introduce the latest molecular genetic method known as Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS). The training was attended by students and academics from UNUD Undergraduate and Postgraduate Program, as well as researchers and staff from several agencies such as the Tuna Fisheries Research Workshop, the Gondol-Sea Cultivation Research and Development Center (BBPPBL-Gondol) and the West Bali National Park (West Bali National Park (West Bali National Park) TNBB).

The workshop was divided into several activities, including: a visit to a research center, class materials, sample collection in the field, and processing and preparation of samples in a laboratory. The material at the workshop was provided by staff and researchers from BIONESIA (http://bionesia.org/), who had a main focus in the field of research and learning in the field of biodiversity and conservation. On the first day, participants had the opportunity to visit the Center for Research and Development of Sea-Gondol Cultivation. In this visit, participants were given a brief introduction and learning about how to cultivate some marine animals such as abalone, scallop, sea cucumber, grouper and tuna.

On the following day, the participants were invited to carry out field activities which included taking of artificial coral reef structures called ARMS (Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structures), as well as environmental DNA (eDNA) seawater and sand samples. ARMS is a structure that has a function like a mini apartment as a place to live marine life, and is made from PVC. This structure will also resemble a reef ecosystem, if biota - biota has been attached to and live on the structure. ARMS collected is a structure that was installed at a depth of 10 m for 3 years.

During the laboratory activity, the participants were introduced to the techniques used to collect biota living in ARMS. In addition, the techniques and ways of preserving and storing samples, both samples collected from ARMS and eDNA samples were also introduced during the activity. These samples can later be used for further analysis using the Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) method. Meanwhile, the class material provided in the workshop includes an introduction to what ARMS is, an introduction to NGS and its application in research, a benthic percentage cover analysis program called CoralNet (http://coralnet.ucsd.edu), and an introduction to the database system which is used to store biodiversity information called GeOME (Genomic Observatories MetaDatabase - http://geome-db.org/).

This workshop was opened and closed by the Director of the Postgraduate program, Prof. Dr. dr. I Putu Gede Adiatmika, M. Kes. He believes that this workshop is very helpful for students, lecturers, and researchers to find out the latest technology in conducting biodiversity research and can also make research collaboration opportunities