Danish researchers have discovered a new method to help identify deep ocean wildlife. It enables them to analyse the environmental DNA (eDNA) of a water sample.
This relatively simple, cheap and non-invasive technique can be used for qualitative and quantitative oceanic fish surveys, which currently rely on bottom trawling and reports of global catches.
Thanks to the eDNA analysis, researchers can identify not only what type of species live in the deep oceans, but also their volume.
‘[This] means that in the future we can get a better overview of what lives deep in the oceans around the world, and the method can also be used as a tool to explore the effects of climate change in the Arctic,” Philip Francis Thomsen, a researcher at the Centre for GeoGenetics at the Natural History Museum in Copenhagen, told magazine Videnskab.
Tobias Frøslev, an assistant professor at the Institute of Biology at the University of Copenhagen, agrees that the new eDNA method can assist in detecting and monitoring marine biodiversity, which is under great pressure from both fisheries and climate change.