Banggai cardinalfish were rediscovered in the 1990s and quickly became popular aquarium fish, leading to over-fishing; in addition, due to their restricted habitat range, low reproductive capacity, and other human-related pressures, the fish nearly became extinct within a matter of years. The Banggai cardinalfish have a unique life history, termed mouthbrooding, in which the male incubates the eggs in his mouth for 3 weeks, and then keeps the juveniles for 5 days post-hatching. This results in genetically distinct populations that are ecologically and evolutionarily significant, however extremely vulnerable.
Constructing a reference genome for the Banggai cardinalfish from Basuki will help scientific efforts to discern the population diversity and heterozygosity of this fish, enabling population genotyping for more successful breeding and habitat reintroduction programs. If you have a research project requiring a de novo genome assembly, or an assembly that could use improvement, you can join us on this conservation mission!