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Biodiversity Loss 



What is biodiversity loss?

Biodiversity loss is the decline in variety of life on Earth. Simply put, it means there are fewer species on our planet than there were before.

According to the Living Planet Report 2022, there has been an average decline of 69% in global species populations since 1970. This significant decline in biodiversity is not only concerning for wildlife, as it leads to increased extinction rates, but it also poses a threat to humanity. We rely on a healthy planet for essential resources such as food, water, oxygen and overall well-being, highlighting the urgent need to address biodiversity loss.

What causes biodiversity loss?

Biodiversity loss is threatened by habitat destruction, pollution, climate change, invasive species, overexploitation of natural resources and unsustainable agricultural practices. These threats often interact and exacerbate each other, posing significant challenges for conserving biodiversity and maintaining the health and functioning of ecosystems.

How does biodiversity loss affect humans?

Biodiversity loss can have direct and indirect effects on humans. The loss of biodiversity can impact ecosystem services vital for human survival, such as clean air and water, pollination of crops, regulation of climate and provision of food and medicines. It can also lead to economic consequences, affecting industries reliant on natural resources and reducing opportunities for ecotourism and recreation.

How can we protect biodiversity?

While conservation efforts are helpful, urgent action and monitoring is needed to slow biodiversity loss. With alarming possible consequences for both environmental and human health, ocean biodiversity must be efficiently monitored and managed.

Environmental DNA (eDNA) is a promising new method for biodiversity and ecosystem monitoring. Existing methods to monitor marine biodiversity, including visual surveys, net trawls and tissue sampling, can be labour-intensive, time-consuming and invasive. Through eDNA sampling, it is possible to obtain a comprehensive snapshot of an ecosystem's biodiversity in a single sample, without affecting any of the species it aims to protect.

Environmental DNA (eDNA) to research and monitoring biodiversity

Like human DNA, environmental DNA (eDNA) holds genetic codes that reveal information about species living in an ecosystem. eDNA metabarcoding is the technique that utilizes DNA sequencing to identify various organisms in an environmental sample.

Used to detect invasive species and monitor changes in species distribution and abundance over time, eDNA has immense potential for biodiversity protection.

Environmental DNA (eDNA) is becoming a powerful method to monitor ocean and freshwater health. eDNA can identify which species and organisms have been in that environment, including invasive species, without having to catch or directly observe and disturb them.

Existing environmental DNA (eDNA) sampling methods present several limitations. The collection, extraction and purification process for eDNA samples is often time-consuming and has a high potential for contamination. Variation in filtration methods also can lead to inconsistent results. Overcoming these challenges is crucial for improving the reliability and accuracy of eDNA analysis in biodiversity research and monitoring.

Environmental DNA Sampling Technologies

By leveraging new eDNA sampling technology, researchers can better understand marine biodiversity, inform evidence-based management solutions to better protect these habitats and measure their impacts.

Ocean Diagnostics’ innovative solutions include:

  1. Ascension Depth Sampling for eDNA 
    1. Ascension is a high-tech eDNA depth sampler that gathers samples up to 400 meters deep. It filters the samples right in the water, avoiding contamination. This lightweight and portable instrument can be easily used from a small boat or fixed platform. It does not need a large research vessel. 

  2. The Basic Two-Channel eDNA Sampler
    1. The Basic Two-Channel eDNA Sampler collects water samples for studying environmental DNA (eDNA). It uses two small but powerful pumps to draw water through filters, capturing the eDNA for analysis. It's rechargeable and can be customized for different sampling requirements. This versatile device is perfect for remote areas where scientists want to study aquatic life and ecosystems.  

  3. The Advanced Two-Channel eDNA Sampler
    1. The Advanced Two-Channel eDNA Sampler is an upgraded version that collects water samples for eDNA analysis. It lets researchers use different types of filters and provides real-time information like flow rate, volume pumped, geo location and satellite UTC time. It's equipped with advanced features like a flow meter, GPS and an LCD screen for easy monitoring.

These cutting-edge eDNA instruments offer researchers the opportunity to enhance our understanding of marine biodiversity and biodiversity loss, to protect our planet's wildlife and secure a sustainable future.