Taxonomy 2028 Challenge: Every Australian species genomed (is that even a verb yet?)

Posted on behalf of Dr Peter Johnston, LandCare Research, New Zealand

By 2028, every species in Australasia has had its genome sequenced. 

This includes named species, as well as species known from specimens or living cultures in curated scientific collections, but not formally named.

The IT infrastructure needed to manage this data, analyse it, interpret it, and deliver it in a way that is useful to humans, is available. This interpreted data will be delivered to users in real time and updated as new taxa are discovered.

This will provide:

  • a truly robust phylogeny of Australasia’s biota, from population through to kingdom.
  • understanding of the Australasian species and lineages that make this part of world special, irrespective of kingdom [e.g. from koala to epacridaceous root endophytes]
  • recognition of the species and linaeges that are exotic, prediction of their putative biology, and understanding of their potential risk to Australasia’s economy and inidigenous biota.
  • ability to place taxa known only from environmental DNA sampling in the phylogeny, irrespective of the gene or genes used for that sampling.
  • important management tool for dealing with the high-risk and unique parts of Australasia’s biological diversity through accurate mapping across space and time, based on national landscape-scale eDNA surveys.