Sponges as natural environmental DNA samplers

Mariani, S ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5329-0553, Baillie, CJP, Colosimo, G and Riesgo, A 2019, 'Sponges as natural environmental DNA samplers' , Current Biology, 29 (11) , R401-R402.

PDF - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution 4.0.

Download (401kB) | Preview


At a time of unprecedented impacts on marine biodiversity, scientists are rapidly becoming persuaded by the potential of screening large swathes of the oceans through the retrieval, amplification and sequencing of trace DNA fragments left behind by marine organisms; an approach known as ‘environmental DNA’ (eDNA) [1]. In trying to circumvent the many challenges associated with water filtration and DNA isolation from environmental samples, significant investment is being made in high-tech solutions, such as automated underwater vehicles and robots [2]. Here, instead, we explored a simpler, alternative option, based on the recovery of eDNA from sponges (phylum Porifera), the planet’s most effective water-filterers. We obtained sponge samples from Mediterranean and Antarctic surveys, extracted total DNA from their tissues, and obtained tens of thousands of fish DNA reads via metabarcoding, which were able to clearly distinguish samples from the two regions. One Antarctic sample yielded hundreds of reads from chinstrap penguin (Pygoscelis antarcticus) and Weddell seal (Leptonychotes weddellii). We argue that this ‘natural sampler DNA’ (nsDNA) approach is poised to become a powerful, affordable, universal tool for aquatic biodiversity monitoring globally.

Item Type: Article
Schools: Schools > School of Environment and Life Sciences > Ecosystems and Environment Research Centre
Journal or Publication Title: Current Biology
Publisher: Cell Press (Elsevier)
ISSN: 0960-9822
Related URLs:
Funders: Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
Depositing User: USIR Admin
Date Deposited: 05 Jun 2019 06:51
Last Modified: 28 Aug 2021 13:44
URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/51160

Actions (login required)

Edit record (repository staff only) Edit record (repository staff only)


Downloads per month over past year