There are marine organisms that reproduce in the water reproductive cells, essentially sperm and gametes or eggs, to reproduce. It is very difficult to detect the release of these cells in real time and consequently, it is also difficult to study animals such as scallops (Pecten jacobaeus), a bivalve mollusc also present in the Mediterranean.
A group of researchers from the University of Maine and Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences has therefore devised a new method to study these “releases” by taking water samples and analyzing the environmental DNA. The result of the study focuses on a new method to manage wild mollusk populations, but also those in aquaculture, and generally shows a new approach in the context of the so-called eDNA, also called environmental DNA, ie the DNA that is not collected from living organisms but from samples taken from the environments in which they live.
To explain the importance of this research is Skylar Bayer, a researcher at the Milford Laboratory of the Northeast Fisheries Science Center and main author: “Knowing when and where marine organisms are generated is important to understand their demographic growth and their life cycle. Usually, monitoring the generation events in marine invertebrates, including marine scallops, can be a difficult task, so being able to track these events by sampling seawater could be enormously useful for the management and conservation practices of marine species.”
The same researcher admits that this method can also be used in the future to understand the deposition events of other marine animals such as corals and clams, practically in real-time.
The study was published in the Marine Ecology Progress Series.
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