Global diversity of marine metazoans based on eDNA

Apr 11 2018 03:00 PM - Apr 11 2018 04:00 PM

PRESENTER: Dr. Nathan Geraldi
DATE: Wednesday, April 11, 2018
TIME: 03:00 PM - 04:00 PM
LOCATION: Auditorium 0215 - between Bldg. 4 & 5

BIO: Dr. Geraldi obtained his PhD at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, USA studying the ecology and restoration of coastal ecosystems with a focus on oyster reefs. His research is broadly focused on understanding community dynamics and how ecosystems are altered by anthropogenic impacts. At KAUST, working on a diverse array of projects including global drivers of marine invasive species, the development of novel sensors for studying marine fauna, and the use of environmental DNA to elucidate what variables impact diversity through space and time.

ABSTRACT: Our understanding of biodiversity patterns within the world’s oceans is limited and primarily based on coastal communities and specific taxa. Furthermore, the assessment of global biodiversity often relies on disparate methodologies, which can bias the findings. This is particularly true for many metazoan taxa whose diversity across the oceans remain relatively unknown. Metabarcoding of environmental DNA can assess the diversity of organisms throughout the entire metazoan subkingdom, and allow a much greater spatial coverage and quantity of samples compared to traditional surveys, which are often cost-limited and labor intensive. We utilized large genomic databases from two separate cruises that circumnavigated the Earth and sampled from the ocean’s surface down to 4000 meters to assess what factors affect the diversity of metazoans. Results indicate different patterns for separate phylums of metazoans that are associated with temperature, depth and latitude. Environmental DNA offers an unprecedented way to measure marine diversity and determine factors that affect communities on the surface and into the deep oceans. Determining global patterns of diversity within our oceans is of the utmost importance given the current, unprecedented rates of change occurring within marine ecosystems.