Leading Queensland ecological consultancy BAAM recently completed a three day workshop for DAFF (Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry) biosecurity staff held at their biosecurity facility at Qantas Drive, Eagle Farm. Ten representatives from the States and Territories attended the workshop presented by Dr John Stanisic, Principal Biodiversity Scientist, BAAM. This was the Cleveland –based ecological consultancy’s first foray into the training arena which is seen by BAAM as an opportunity to share specialist knowledge. Most attendees were entomologists with limited working knowledge of snail identifications, but still required to attempt these on a daily basis in the absence of specialist malacologists.
The increase in global travel and the freeing up of global commercial markets and trade routes has resulted in a greater variety of snail species (from a greater variety of countries) being intercepted than ever before.
The workshop included a number of powerpoint presentations concentrating on key snail identification features. The visual presentations were supported by hands-on identification of species (including microscope examination) from many parts of the world focussing specifically on those, such as the Giant African Snail, which are known pest species. Attendees were asked to bring along their locally obtained intercepts so that they could use these as key workshop resources. These were supplemented by various specimens from the collections of the Queensland Museum.
Feedback both in the workshop and in post-workshop client surveys was very positive. Perhaps most importantly, even though the course was basically limited to a three-day brain storm, the knowledge gained will allow biosecurity staff to feel more confident about their snail identifications into the future.
For more information contact BAAM at: www.baamecology.com