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Framing Cutting-Edge Integrative Deep-Sea Biodiversity Monitoring via Environmental DNA and Optoacoustic Augmented Infrastructures

Stefanni, Sergio; Mirimin, Luca; Stanković, David; Chatzievangelou, Damianos; Bongiorni, Lucia; Marini, Simone; Modica, Maria Vittoria; Manea, Elisabetta; Bonofiglio, Federico; del Rio Fernandez, Joaquin; Cukrov, Neven; Gavrilović, Ana; De Leo, Fabio C. (2022) Framing Cutting-Edge Integrative Deep-Sea Biodiversity Monitoring via Environmental DNA and Optoacoustic Augmented Infrastructures. Frontiers in marine science, 8 . ISSN 2296-7745

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Deep-sea ecosystems are reservoirs of biodiversity that are largely unexplored, but their exploration and biodiscovery are becoming a reality thanks to biotechnological advances (e.g., omics technologies) and their integration in an expanding network of marine infrastructures for the exploration of the seas, such as cabled observatories. While still in its infancy, the application of environmental DNA (eDNA) metabarcoding approaches is revolutionizing marine biodiversity monitoring capability. Indeed, the analysis of eDNA in conjunction with the collection of multidisciplinary optoacoustic and environmental data, can provide a more comprehensive monitoring of deep-sea biodiversity. Here, we describe the potential for acquiring eDNA as a core component for the expanding ecological monitoring capabilities through cabled observatories and their docked Internet Operated Vehicles (IOVs), such as crawlers. Furthermore, we provide a critical overview of four areas of development: (i) Integrating eDNA with optoacoustic imaging ; (ii) Development of eDNA repositories and cross-linking with other biodiversity databases ; (iii) Artificial Intelligence for eDNA analyses and integration with imaging data ; and (iv) Benefits of eDNA augmented observatories for the conservation and sustainable management of deep-sea biodiversity. Finally, we discuss the technical limitations and recommendations for future eDNA monitoring of the deep-sea. It is hoped that this review will frame the future direction of an exciting journey of biodiscovery in remote and yet vulnerable areas of our planet, with the overall aim to understand deep-sea biodiversity and hence manage and protect vital marine resources.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: omics sensors ; eDNA metabarcoding ; genetic markers ; imaging, artificial intelligence ; data repositories ; deep sea conservation
Subjects: NATURAL SCIENCES > Biology
Divisions: Division for Marine and Enviromental Research
Depositing User: Neven Cukrov
Date Deposited: 01 Aug 2022 10:07
DOI: 10.3389/fmars.2021.797140

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