Powerful new tool makes coral reef monitoring faster, easier, cheaper

Read the full story from the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) Graduate University.

To reverse the global decline of coral reefs, a greater understanding of coral diversity is needed. Now, researchers in Japan have developed a tool—a short DNA sequence, called a primer—that can determine the diversity of hard corals on a reef with just a sample of seawater taken from nearby.

The method used eDNA—the DNA of an organism found in its surrounding environment—that was extracted from seawater samples taken from above three different reefs in Okinawa. Analyses of the eDNA using the primer identified 26 genera of coral and found that each reef was made up of its own unique coral composition.

This new tool paves the way for more accurate and accessible coral reef monitoring—a step forward for coral reef conservation and restoration throughout the world

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