Request for Partnership Process


PRIORITY SPECIES

The Threatened Species Initiative (TSI) Steering Committee has undertaken a review of the list of species provided from the consultation with the Federal, State and Territory threatened species managers; existing Bioplatforms Australia framework initiatives; and the recent Commonwealth government bushfire list of priority species. This list will inform investment decisions by the TSI, together with partners, in building a foundation of genomic data to enhance the conservation of threatened species.

Flora Species
Due to the extensive number of threatened plant species we have not defined a set list. We will instead ask the community to nominate plant species in their applications based on the criteria detailed in the Request for Partnership section below.

Fauna Species – see list here.
Threatened Species Managers from State and Territory departments were asked to indicate their top 10 priority fauna species where having genetic data in the next 12-24 months would assist in decision-making. The prioritised list for fauna is available here. Applications for partnership will be encouraged to target a species on this list.

We note that species on this list may not represent species with the most urgent management needs in Australia, but rather those where genetic information would have an immediate tangible impact. This list also identifies species that are bush fire impacted, some of which are not listed under the EPBC Act.

The below questions represent some examples where genetic information can have a substantial impact on improving conservation outcomes. Partnership projects are not expected to resolve all of these questions, or only these questions.

  • What is the population diversity and potential inbreeding effects in populations of reduced habitat or range?
  • What is the current genetic status of captive or translocated populations? And how are they performing relative to wild populations?
  • What is the genetic divergence of isolated or disjunct populations? (to determine appropriate management actions/units)
  • Will populations benefit from transferring new individuals from/into the population? If so, which population is the best option for transferring individuals with?
  • What are the differences/commonalities between putative source populations and receiving populations during translocations?
  • What is the reproductive contribution of released/translocated individuals?
  • What are the best potential founder relationships for insurance populations and/or translocation programs?
  • How can we best manage the genetic diversity in ex-situ collections (e.g. zoo populations, seed banks, botanic garden collections)?
  • [for animals] What is the parentage information for captive, or intensively managed translocated wild populations? What are the pedigrees of unknown animals in group-housed populations? What is the reproductive skew (over-representation of genetic lines) that will impact long-term genetic diversity within a managed population (island, fenced, geographically isolated, captive etc.)?
  • [for plants] What is the presence or extent of clonality? And what is the risk for and extent of hybridisation?

REQUEST FOR PARTNERSHIP

The first TSI Request for Partnership (RFP) call is now open.

Projects are encouraged to target a priority species and will be assessed based on the following criteria:

  • End-user collaboration: proven collaboration with the relevant species conservation group/s – shown through a statement of intent from the end-user for the use of the genetic data outputs.
  • Species: the species must have an active management/conservation plan that identifies the need to collect genetic information and/or actions that are informed by, or would be improved with, genetic information (e.g. the species is part of a rehabilitation/breeding and translocation program).
  • Team: a team with the required bioinformatics capacity to sequence, curate, map and make publicly available the draft genome sequence using the latest technologies, and the capacity to undertake the companion studies necessary to address relevant management questions.
  • Scientific rigor: proven access to existing samples, or the ability to collect samples in a timely manner, that are suitable for extracting high molecular weight DNA for high-quality genomic sequencing (for both whole genome sequencing and reduced representation sequencing)
  • Co-contribution: the team must be capable of marshalling the funding necessary to complement the Bioplatforms Australia component (sequencing only), in order to bring the project to completion. Sample collection and data analysis, are to be supported by co-investment. The ability to conduct value-add sequencing is highly desirable.

It should be noted that this is not a grant opportunity. The sequencing will be undertaken by Bioplatforms Australia facilities through the Framework Initiative Program, while sample collection, the provision of DNA/RNA suitable for sequencing, and subsequent informatics is to be supported by the research community. Note: TSI may be able to assist in connections to expertise if required.

INSTRUCTIONS FOR APPLYING

  1. Please ensure you’ve read all information on this page before completing your application.
  2. Please download the proposal template here – Request for Partnership Application Template
  3. Complete and submit one document per species.
  4. Address all criteria/questions listed.
  5. Answers to all the criteria should not exceed 4 pages.

Deadline: COB Monday 1st March, 2021.

Submissions: Please email completed document to Sarah Richmond, srichmond@bioplatforms.com, with subject: TSI RFP – [Species Name]

We encourage potential participants to consider the listed species and TSI opportunities when writing grant proposals for the 2021 Australian Research Council rounds.

A webinar on the TSI, with opportunity to ask questions, was held on Thursday the 10th Dec. Please see recording here: https://youtu.be/Qcz1ygaTdEc

Parties interested in participating in the TSI, including this RFP, are welcome to get in contact with Sarah Richmond.

We look forward to providing the Australian genomics and conservation communities with further details as TSI progresses.

Carolyn Hogg, Peter Latch, Kym Ottewell – TSI Project Co-Leads