Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New research finds surveys of larval-stage organisms effective for measuring marine biodiversity

15.05.2006
BU biologist discovers diversity in mantis shrimp underestimated

There is a push to document the biodiversity of the world within 25 years. However, the magnitude of this challenge is not well known, especially when it comes to vast and often inaccessible marine environments. To date, surveys of species diversity in the world’s oceans have focused on adult organisms, but new research from Boston University has found that studying marine life in its larval phase with DNA barcoding is a valuable way to estimate biodiversity.

Using this novel approach, Paul Barber, an assistant professor of biology at BU, discovered that biodiversity is greatly underestimated in the region of the Pacific known as the "Coral Triangle" and in the Red Sea. The study, which focused on coral reef-dwelling mantis shrimp (stomatopods), is the first to compare larval stage organisms to adults.

Through DNA barcoding – a new method not commonly used in aquatic settings – Dr. Barber and his colleague, Sarah Boyce of Harvard University, compared the DNA sequences of a random sampling of stomatopod larvae to a sequence database of most known mature species of mantis shrimp. The comparisons revealed numerous new varieties of shrimp that are completely unknown in their adult forms.

"Our results show that biodiversity in mantis shrimp in these regions is estimated to be at least 50 to 150 percent higher than presently believed," said Barber. "Given that few groups of marine organisms are as well studied as mantis shrimp, the biodiversity in other groups is likely even more poorly known. What’s unique about this study is that we didn’t just discover new species, we used DNA barcoding to quantify how much biodiversity is out there that we don’t know about."

According to Barber, the results suggest that examining marine life in the larval stage offers a new and highly effective way to estimate biodiversity since most organisms have a developmental phase where minute larvae disperse on ocean currents.

"For some groups of organisms, scientists can more easily collect larvae for sampling since the habitats of the mature marine species can be totally unreachable," said Barber. "This method gives us a better idea of how well we know a particular area. There may be parts of the world that we think we know a lot about, like the Caribbean for example, but the sequencing of larva there may uncover countless more species that we never knew existed."

In addition to an alternative way to explore marine biodiversity, Barber hopes the findings will promote conservation. Despite being considered a "biodiversity hotspot," the Coral Triangle is one of the most threatened marine environments in the world. Often areas with particularly high rates of biodiversity are targeted for conservation, so the new method could help by highlighting potential regions for protection.

Barber also believes this new information will move scientists one step closer to the goal of documenting the entire world’s species, both in aquatic and terrestrial settings.

Kira Edler | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.bu.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Multi-institutional collaboration uncovers how molecular machines assemble
02.12.2016 | Salk Institute

nachricht Fertilized egg cells trigger and monitor loss of sperm’s epigenetic memory
02.12.2016 | IMBA - Institut für Molekulare Biotechnologie der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften GmbH

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses

02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product

02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>