Earth Science News  





. Larval-Stage Organisms Effect Measurements Of Marine Biodiversity

The study focused on coral reef-dwelling mantis shrimp (pictured).
by Staff Writers
Boston MA (SPX) May 15, 2006
There is a push to document the biodiversity of the world within 25 years. However, the magnitude of this challenge is not well known, especially when it comes to vast and often inaccessible marine environments. To date, surveys of species diversity in the world's oceans have focused on adult organisms, but new research from Boston University has found that studying marine life in its larval phase with DNA barcoding is a valuable way to estimate biodiversity. Using this novel approach, Paul Barber, an assistant professor of biology at BU, discovered that biodiversity is greatly underestimated in the region of the Pacific known as the "Coral Triangle" and in the Red Sea. The study, which focused on coral reef-dwelling mantis shrimp (stomatopods), is the first to compare larval stage organisms to adults.

Through DNA barcoding a new method not commonly used in aquatic settings Dr. Barber and his colleague, Sarah Boyce of Harvard University, compared the DNA sequences of a random sampling of stomatopod larvae to a sequence database of most known mature species of mantis shrimp. The comparisons revealed numerous new varieties of shrimp that are completely unknown in their adult forms.

"Our results show that biodiversity in mantis shrimp in these regions is estimated to be at least 50 to 150 percent higher than presently believed," said Barber. "Given that few groups of marine organisms are as well studied as mantis shrimp, the biodiversity in other groups is likely even more poorly known. What's unique about this study is that we didn't just discover new species, we used DNA barcoding to quantify how much biodiversity is out there that we don't know about."

According to Barber, the results suggest that examining marine life in the larval stage offers a new and highly effective way to estimate biodiversity since most organisms have a developmental phase where minute larvae disperse on ocean currents.

"For some groups of organisms, scientists can more easily collect larvae for sampling since the habitats of the mature marine species can be totally unreachable," said Barber. "This method gives us a better idea of how well we know a particular area. There may be parts of the world that we think we know a lot about, like the Caribbean for example, but the sequencing of larva there may uncover countless more species that we never knew existed."

In addition to an alternative way to explore marine biodiversity, Barber hopes the findings will promote conservation. Despite being considered a "biodiversity hotspot," the Coral Triangle is one of the most threatened marine environments in the world. Often areas with particularly high rates of biodiversity are targeted for conservation, so the new method could help by highlighting potential regions for protection.

Barber also believes this new information will move scientists one step closer to the goal of documenting the entire world's species, both in aquatic and terrestrial settings.

Related Links
Boston University

Non-Coding RNAs Help Silence The Mammalian Transcription
Cold Spring Harbor NY (SPX) May 15, 2006
Dr. Shirley Tilghman and colleagues (Princeton University) lend new insight into the mechanism of genomic imprinting, demonstrating a necessary role for a non-coding RNA transcript in the silencing of an imprinted gene cluster in mice.

.
Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
  



  • Dutch Soldiers Move Into Afghanistan Under Apache Protection
  • MSV Supports New Laws Boosting Satellite Communications Provisions For Emergencies
  • Indians At Risk In Afghanistan
  • Pacific Tsunami Alert System Tests To Start Mid-May

  • Clinton Says Climate Change Greatest Threat
  • Redirecting Mississippi River Proposed As Way To Save Louisiana Coast
  • Environmental Groups Urge Canada To Withdraw As Chair Of Bonn Talks
  • Climate change risks killing millions in Africa: charity

  • Tibet Provides Passage For Chemicals To Reach The Stratosphere
  • Raytheon Tests Advanced Space-Based Weather Sensor
  • African Wetland Managers Armed With New Technology
  • ESA To Host Atmospheric Science Conference

  • Scientists Create the First Synthetic Nanoscale Fractal Molecule
  • Greenpeace Urges ADB To Stop Funding Fossil Fuel Projects
  • Alternate Fuel-Powered B-52 To Fly In September
  • EADS And ASB To Create Of US Thermal Battery Company For The Military

  • NAU Receives Patent For Technique That Could Stop TB
  • Indian Government Intervenes In Stone Age Tribe Health scare
  • US Bird Flu Toll Could Be As High As 2 Million
  • H5N1 Adapts To Summer, Water, Heat

  • Dragonfly Migration Resembles That Of Birds
  • Contaminants May Cause Renal Lesions In Polar Bears
  • Larval-Stage Organisms Effect Measurements Of Marine Biodiversity
  • Non-Coding RNAs Help Silence The Mammalian Transcription

  • New "Toxic" Ship Bound For India
  • China Says River Clean After Thaw
  • China's "Cancer Villages" Pay Heavy Price For Economic Progress
  • Russian Ecologists Despair Over Lack Of Govt Vision

  • Guard Likely To Support Border Patrol Says National Security Adviser
  • Humanity May Have Caused Pre-Historic Extinctions
  • Evolutionary Forces Explain Why Women Live Longer than Men
  • Rwandan Pygmies Fight For Survival In Eco-Sensitive Times

  • The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2006 - SpaceDaily.AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA PortalReports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additionalcopyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement