2019 FSBI Fellow

A report from the 2019 Fellow: Thiago Sanches

The 2019 FSBI Symposium
The theme of the 2019 FSBI Symposium was on the use of environmental DNA for fish ecology and management. The choice to focus the meeting on one overarching theme of novel genetic tools has proven a major success, bringing experts in the field from across the globe to better address the methodological constraints as well as have a glimpse of the future trends for the field. Though, even after the complex talks about statistical analysis and innovative ways of using gene editing to identify species, one central goal materialized: standardization. The eDNA field is still establishing best practices and determining how to standardize protocols in such different environments. The 2019 FSBI promoted a worldwide venue for researchers to observe how the field has advanced and most importantly, established a better network so the novel technologies can spread and better standards can be chosen. This network will allow, in the near future, to provide reliable and comparable studies in the field, which will further cascade to an abrangent use of genetic tools, widespread recognition of the validity of those results and most importantly, a more comprehensive and large scale tool that will generate data-driven studies for a more comprehensive understanding of fish ecology and management.

The venue
The 2019 FSBI Symposium took place at the Hull University. The city of Hull with it’s prominent river with the same name gave a great background to the Symposium. The atmosphere was friendly and the location presented a culturally rich environment, reminding us of the different backgrounds from which each participant in the symposium came from. The venue presented a complete infrastructure, with modern housing on campus, high quality local alimentation and easy transportation. Those amenities made the long days manageable. An event at this level of integration and quality could only be made possible by organizers who deeply cared for this event and worked their best to make all this possible.

The importance of collaboration
From the FSBI Symposium and the research being developed in Great Britain, it became clear that the level of collaboration and integration in the environmental DNA community in Europe largely outperforms their North American counterparts. This observation will help to promote the development of better standards for the field in North America. Currently, the CALeDNA project has been setting the standard for soil eDNA samples in California. By combining their standards with the European standard procedures for water samples, we will be able to generate clear protocols to process the samples and efficient pipelines to process the data in a manner that will be comparable to other researches done worldwide and advance the progress of the field on a global scale.

The IFS Fellow Award
I believe that the experience to participate in the 2019 FSBI Annual Symposium was unique to further improve my career development as well as for my character. I want to thank all the people that made this possible and I look forward to contributing to this fellowship and help the next awardees. I hope that the relationship between the AFS and the FSBI keeps improving to provide a worldwide fisheries community, advance the fish sciences and apply the ecological value of those studies to further preserve our fish biodiversity.