A workshop on sea turtle genetics was held at the University of UP Diliman in Manila in June. UP Diliman organised the workshop in collaboration with the Large Marine Vertebrate Institute (LAMAVE) and the Asia-Pacific Marine Turtle Genetic Working Group. The workshop was facilitated by experts from NOAA and WWF Australia. A total of 11 early career scientists and conservationists from the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia involved in sea turtle research and genetics attended. One of the participants was Adéla Hemelíková, a PhD student at the Department of Ecology, Faculty of Environment, CZU. As part of her dissertation, Adéla is conducting genetic research on sea turtles in Sumatra, Indonesia.
For example, the workshop programme focused on improving skills and techniques related to sample collection and analysis in the laboratory. In addition to practical exercises that focused on DNA extraction and PCR from skin tissue, there were also exercises that focused on working with bones and carapaces. These types of tissues are particularly useful for conservation and law enforcement purposes. Individual populations of sea turtles are genetically distinct, making it possible, for example, to trace the likely origin of illegally caught turtles or confiscated products, and thus to better target conservation efforts and combat illegal trade. The final part of the workshop focused on working with databases, gene banks and software.
Most participants and organisers were in online contact during the pandemic. As a result, the workshop provided a unique opportunity to meet face-to-face, discuss and strengthen international collaboration. Within a few days, it was also possible to identify priority areas for genetic research and discuss collaboration on grant applications.
The student's participation at the workshop was supported by Faculty of Environmental Sciences’s scholarship for international mobilities.