Beaches and biodiversity

It’s August, and for me, that means beach time. Sun, sand and waves feel great, but it’s also about shorebirds, sea turtles and seashells. In other words, biodiversity. Part of the exhilaration I feel on my summer vacation comes from the wildlife I encounter while there.

So it seems particularly fitting that Ensia published my article on environmental DNA (eDNA) this month.  In it, I reveal how leaps in DNA sequencing allow scientists to detect even rare species in marine and aquatic ecosystems from the messy soup of organic waste floating around in just a few glasses of water — a huge advantage over traditional survey methods that require expensive boats, gear and divers, yet still miss hard-to-find critters. And as fisheries collapse, coral reefs die off and dead zones proliferate, knowing what’s still out there and where becomes increasingly important.

But will genetic techniques ever replace traditional field work in marine biology? Check out my article here and see what you think.

(Update 8/13/14:  You can also read it at Earth Touch News here!)

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