Genetics Gives Glimpse Into Deep Ocean Creatures

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In California, Stanford University researchers are taking advantage of the latest DNA analysis technologies to get a more complete picture of what actually goes on in the big blue abyss – water deeper than 7,200 feet where scientists have difficulty detecting and tracking ocean creatures. They are analyzing DNA in skin, scales and feces that ocean creatures leave behind via water samples to determine what is going on in the hidden ecosystems and how they have adapted to environmental changes.

This is the first time this DNA analysis approach is being used in the deep waters of Monterey Bay and can be helpful in detecting invasive species or changes with endangered species.

Co-author Barbara Block, a Professor in Marine Sciences at Stanford, told Stanford News, “It is a remarkably powerful way to answer a simple question: What species are present in space and time in our oceans? It could change how we view our planet’s marine biodiversity.”