The ocean’s vast twilight, or mesopelagic, zone (200–1,000 m depth) harbors immense biomass consisting of myriad poorly known and unique animal species whose quantity and diversity are likely considerably underestimated. As they facilitate the movement of carbon from surface waters to the deep sea through feeding and migratory behaviors, ocean twilight zone (OTZ) animals are vital to regulating Earth’s climate (Ducklow et al., 2001). However, anthropogenic threats, such as climate change, ocean acidification, pollution, and overfishing pose an imminent threat to OTZ animals. Long-term spatially and temporally intensive observations are essential to our understanding of biodiversity in the OTZ, to resolving global carbon cycles, and to monitoring ocean health. Environmental DNA (eDNA) analysis, which involves studying the trace genetic signatures of organisms (Figure 1), is a promising approach to filling this urgent need. eDNA can be sampled and diagnostic genetic markers (“barcodes”) can be sequenced in order to detect the animals inhabiting a given water parcel. Other laboratory protocols (e.g., quantitative PCR, or “qPCR” and “digital droplet PCR”) can be applied to facilitate quantitative assessments of specific target species (Eble et al., 2020). In seagoing oceanographic research, eDNA assessment is transitioning from being considered an experimental approach to becoming an established routine that can be scaled up to match ocean observing needs.

Full Text

Published Version
Open DOI Link

Get access to 115M+ research papers

Discover from 40M+ Open access, 2M+ Pre-prints, 9.5M Topics and 32K+ Journals.

Sign Up Now! It's FREE

Talk to us

Join us for a 30 min session where you can share your feedback and ask us any queries you have

Schedule a call