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  • This record provides an overview of the NESP Marine and Coastal Hub emerging priorities study - "Application of environmental DNA to survey Bathurst Harbour Tasmania for the endangered Maugean skate". For specific data outputs from this project, please see child records associated with this metadata. -------------------- This study will use Environmental (e) DNA to determine the presence/absence of the endangered Maugean skate (Zearaja maugeana) in Bathurst Harbour, Tasmania. Zearaja maugeana is classified as endangered based on its small population (~ 3000 individuals, Macquarie Harbour, Tasmania, 2016) and restricted distribution (Bathurst and Macquarie Harbours). Initially discovered in Bathurst Harbour in 1988, it has not been recorded there since 1992. Additionally, recent research suggests that the Macquarie Harbour population may be declining. As such, there is an urgent need to determine the current status of the Bathurst Harbour population. This research will address this need. Outputs • Maugean skate eDNA sampling data and inferred species distribution (presence/absence) [dataset] • Final technical report with analysed data, including a short summary of recommendations for policy makers of key findings [written]

  • The Maugean Skate Zearaja maugeana is a micro-endemic species known from only two isolated estuaries, Bathurst and Macquarie Harbours in southwestern/western Tasmania. This constitutes one of the most limited distributions of any known extant elasmobranch. As a result, the species is listed as ‘Endangered’ under the Threatened Species Protection Act (Tasmania) and the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (Commonwealth). Even though it was first discovered in Bathurst Harbour, most of what is known about the species comes from the Macquarie Harbour population. In fact, only four individuals have ever been reported in Bathurst Harbour, with the last known sighting occurring in 1992. This study aimed to use eDNA to determine the presence of the Maugean skate in Bathurst Harbour on the southwest coast of Tasmania. Water samples were collected within 1 m from the sea floor in Bathurst Harbour in November 2021 and February 2022, and in Macquarie Harbour (control samples) in December 2021. Samples were filtered using a self-preserving eDNA sampling system. Following each survey DNA from the samples was extracted and analysed through qPCR amplification. Mitochondrial primer pairs from two gene regions were used to detect the presence of Maugean skate DNA in the samples. Where possible, positive detections were sequenced, and their identity verified.