Brown-headed spider monkey

Gabriela Pozo Andrade and her team are monitoring the brown-headed spider monkey (Ateles fusciceps fusciceps), one of the 25 most endangered primates in the world. For Gabriela, the Oxford Nanopore MinION device has been “crucial” to their success by providing her team with access to an affordable sequencing technology that has enabled her team to generate high-quality reference genomes. She stressed the need for high-quality reference genomes of all species, especially those that are most endangered as this can help to develop molecular markers and to truly understand the genetic status of a species. This in turn can help to improve conservation efforts and breeding programmes.

Researchers: Gabriela Pozo Andrade

Location: Ecuador

Asian king vultures

There are only five Asian king vultures (Sarcogyps calvus) left in Thailand. Gunnaporn Suriyaphol and her team are using genomic data to select healthy and unrelated breeding stocks for in vito fertilisation. They hope to be able to improve breeding programmes of this rare bird, before its critically endangered status changes to extinct.

Researchers: Gunnaporn Suriyaphol

Location: Thailand

Tea-tree Fingers fungus

Tea-tree Fingers (Hypocreopsis amplectens) is an extremely rare endemic fungus in South Eastern Australia and the South Island of New Zealand. The fungus has only been recorded in seven sites globally and is found in a very specific microhabitat: upright branches of myrtaceous plants. The specificity of this habitat maybe one reason why it is so rare. Sapphire McMullan-Fisher and Michael Amor are aiming to use genomics to improve our understanding of the fungus with the goal of identifying other populations in the wild.

Researchers: Sapphire McMullan-Fisher & Michael Amor

Location: Australia

European sturgeon

Reindert Nijland and his team have been supported in the sequencing and assembly of the European sturgeon’s (Acipenser sturio) genome. With their reference quality genome assembly, the team are developing an eDNA based, real-time monitoring method using the portable Oxford Nanopore MinION device to track the reintroduction of the European sturgeon in the rivers and estuaries in the Netherlands.

Researcher: Reindert Nijland

Location: Netherlands