Research and development project since 2021
The connectivity of maritime and inland waterways promotes the risk of unnoticed distribution of non-indigenous species in the form of biofouling on ship hulls or by ballast water. While impacts of invasive species on land are rather quickly visible, impacts within the water regime remain invisible at first. This may result in potentially irreparable interference with the existing local flora and fauna and the impairment of an established ecosystem.
This research and development project in cooperation with the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH) aims to establish an early warning system for the identification of non-indigenous species based on genetic analysis methods.
The leading research questions are as follows:
- Is there a difference in which organisms are detected by traditional methods (RA, JHP) and by molecular biological methods (metabarcoding)?
- Which method shows a higher specificity when it comes to the detection of non-indigenous species?
- Which taxonomic groups are covered more successfully with either of the methods?
- Is any of the methods more successful in recovering taxa up to species level?
- Are genetic methods able to replace traditional methods or should they be considered as supplementary? What is the best possible cost-benefit combination of both techniques?