Friday Frontiers 12-14-18

For our Friday Frontiers this week we get back to our favorite topic: sharks!

In a recent study from California (appropriately published in the journal Frontiers in Marine Science), scientists were trying to find new techniques for monitoring Great White Sharks. 

A Great White Shark at Isla Guadalupe, Mexico. (Photo Credit: Terry Goss, via Wikipedia)

Shark conservation and research is difficult. For some elusive species, half of the battle is being able to find sharks or know where they are in the ocean (throwback to the weeks we spent trying to catch our first Pacific Sleeper Shark)

But what if you could know if a shark was nearby from a sample of ocean water? Read more about it this study: Bits of DNA in ocean water can reveal white sharks swimming nearby

When sharks defecate, they also excrete cells that release eDNA, which scientists can collect in a sample of ocean water. Infographic courtesy of Kevin Lafferty via Mongabay News

Environmental DNA (or eDNA) is a exciting new tool for studying marine animals that are incredibly difficult to observe, locate or track.  The technique is still very much in the early stages of development. There is still a lot of work that needs to go into refining our understanding of the information, but the potential uses are exciting–including some eDNA work starting here at the ASLC!

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