GB Row has partnered with NatureMetrics to record marine biodiversity using environmental DNA (eDNA). Each day, crews will filter a few liters of water, and the filters will be sent to the NatureMetrics labs in Guildford. Analysis of the DNA traces captured on the filters will reveal which species of fish, birds and mammals have recently been present at each sampling location.
Combined with the other data sources, the eDNA data will enable researchers at University of Portsmouth to understand the effects of impacts such as noise and microplastics pollution on marine wildlife.
About Nature Metrics
NatureMetrics was founded by 2022 Team Albatross crew member Dr Kat Bruce. The company helps organisations around the world to measure and monitor biodiversity quickly and efficiently to inform environmental management and conservation.
This ranges from helping conservation organisations survey endangered species (e.g. pangolins and pygmy hippos) in remote rainforests to conducting routine monitoring of marine biodiversity in European wind farms as part of environmental impact assessments.
About environmental DNA (eDNA)
Lakes, rivers and oceans are like soups of DNA left by all the species that live there. All living things leave traces of DNA in the environment – this comes from faeces, urine, mucous and any other bodily fluids and shed cells, and is known as environmental DNA, or eDNA. In water, eDNA survives for a period of hours to days, during which time it can be captured by filtering the water through a fine membrane and analysed in the lab to identify the species it came from.
The eDNA captured from single litre of water can reveal hundreds of species, from invertebrates to blue whales.