Who’s there? A comprehensive eDNA metabarcoding survey of gelatinous zooplankton biodiversity in the Fram Strait

charlotte.havermans [ at ] awi.de


The Arctic is warming two times faster than the global mean, and a phenomenon known as the ‘Atlantification of the Arctic’ via the Fram Strait is having growing influences on both physical and biological processes in the region. Changes to community composition and function are already underway and these environmental changes will continue to rapidly alter ecosystems in the Arctic and its marginal seas. Greater understanding of how these changes impact local marine biodiversity is crucial for future management and mitigation decisions as well as accurately predicting future Arctic marine ecosystems. Gelatinous zooplankton (GZP) is a highly diverse group of taxa, including cnidarians, ctenophores and tunicates. Very little is currently known about GZP ecology, particularly in the Arctic Ocean, and even less about how they are being impacted by climate-related changes. Not only are they often actively left out of zooplankton surveys, but GZP are notoriously difficult to catch in good condition because their fragile bodies are easily destroyed by traditional sampling methods. GZP are there for regularly underestimated in biodiversity, distribution and abundance, which contributes to the lack of reliable and comprehensive baseline data available. The aim of this study is to a) genetically barcode net-caught Arctic GZP specimens to supplement existing reference datasets and utilize these to b) apply non-invasive environmental DNA (eDNA) metabarcoding methods to investigate GZP biodiversity across the Fram Strait. COI mitochondrial amplicons from water samples will be sequenced with Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) and validated with net catch data from the same locality and period. Oceanographic data will then be incorporated in order to form a holistic baseline dataset of summer GZP biodiversity across the region. Such data would be a valuable contribution to future research into the deviations in Arctic GZP biodiversity and community composition, as a result of on-going environmental changes.

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Conference (Talk)
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ICYMARE International Conference for Young Marine Researchers, 13 Sep 2022 - 16 Sep 2022, Bremerhaven.
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Murray, A. and Havermans, C. (2022): Who’s there? A comprehensive eDNA metabarcoding survey of gelatinous zooplankton biodiversity in the Fram Strait , ICYMARE International Conference for Young Marine Researchers, Bremerhaven, 13 September 2022 - 16 September 2022 .

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