Dra, (Sarjana), Faculty of Biology, Universitas Gadjah Mada, Indonesia
M.Sc (By Research), Deakin University, Australia
PhD Candidate, Charles Darwin Universtiy , Australia
Arafura Timor Research Facility (office 116)
School of Enviornmental and Life Sciences, Charles Darwin University
23 Ellegowan Drive, Brinkin, NT 0811
Telephone: +61 8 8920 9251
Fax: +61 8 8920 9222
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Molecular Genetic Studies of Swamp Eel (Monopterus albus Zuiew)
Genetic information is now considered essential for sustainable exploitation management and conservation of commercially important fish species. Such information is also valuable for genetic improvement programs, to further understand phylogeographic diversity and to help ensure that the correct taxonomic nomenclature is applied.
Professor Chris M. Austin (CDU) Research Description:
Fish of the family Synbrachidae group are economically important freshwater fishes worldwide. Within this family, the genus Monopterus are especially popular due to their reputation as delicious food and their ability to survive and grow in poorly oxygenated waters. Approximately 10 species of Monopterus are currently recognised, with the majority of the species occurring in Africa and Asia. Of the nine species presently recognised in Asia, one species is native to Indonesia, which is the Monopterus albus Zuiew. The fish species is phenotypically plastic, which has led to extensive and confusing taxonomic nomenclature. A previous study clarified this species has been described many times under twenty two names. The species occurs throughout Indonesia including Sumatra, Java, Bali and Sulawesi, but is thought to also occur in some other South East Asian countries. This indicates that the taxonomy of the species is likely to be highly confused as the species breeds in freshwater (nondiadromous) and is likely to have any limited powers of dispersal. A consequence of this life cycle is therefore reproductive isolation between populations leading to genetic divergence and, over sufficiently long periods of time, can lead to speciation. Indeed, this life cycle is thought to be an important factor to account for the high diversity of the swamp eels in Indonesia. Thus, even within the Indonesian archipelago, Monopterus albus may consist of a large number of endemic cryptic species. Alternatively the species may have high levels of genetic similarity among widely separated populations. It is also possible that both factors, cryptic speciation and translocation causing complicated geographic patterns of genetic variation.
Within the context of aquaculture and conservation, this research will examine patterns of molecular genetic variation among populations and species of the swamp eels within Indonesia to develop a clear understanding of genetic stock structure, phylogeography, and taxonomy. The analysis of a number of population using polymorphic genetic markers is essential for addressing these issues. The research will use a range of molecular genetic markers commonly used in fish genetic research to measure the degree of genetic variablilty of the native swamp eels throughout Indonesia. The information is a prerequisite for strategies for future conservation and sustainable use of Monopterus. In addition, to understand properly the biodiversity of this group of fish and implementing conservation stratergies for genetic divergent forms with restricted populations, this data set will allow the aquaculture potential of this species to be properly developed and appropriate genetic improvement programs implemented.