Estimates of commercial fish biomass from DNA traces in seawater

phys.org | 11/29/2019 | Staff
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A new study published by scientists from the Faroese Marine Research Institute reveals that traces of DNA left behind in seawater can be used to predict the biomass of Atlantic cod. The findings show that the so-called environmental DNA approach can track the regional patterns of commercially important fish in the ocean. The paper, led by Dr. Ian Salter, was published on the 10th December in Nature Communications Biology.

All organisms continuously shed DNA into their environment, leaving behind a molecular footprint that can be used to identify the presence of different animal and plant species. Analysing these DNA traces represents a revolutionary approach for studying ecosystems that holds enormous promise. In particular, it has received a lot of attention in aquatic environments because of its potential to contribute towards fisheries management efforts.

Exploitation - Fisheries - Estimates - Quantity - Stocks

The sustainable exploitation of commercial fisheries requires solid estimates of the quantity of fish stocks, and how they are changing over time and space. Traditionally, intensive bottom trawl surveys are used for this purpose and although they have been integral to decision makers, they have some notable drawbacks including cost, habitat destruction, species selectivity and restricted coverage. It is here that scientists believe environmental DNA can help out.

Previous studies in the last few years have shown analyzing DNA traces in seawater can describe the different species of fish caught in trawls. This is very...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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