Using genomics for biodiversity and conservation.
The increase in speed and the decrease in time and cost of sequencing means that we can now sequence anything anywhere (even on a boat! Lim et. al., 2000). My lab is working with collaborators in India to identify sharks and rays being sold in the Indian market-place. Using the new nanopore sequencer, we are able to take samples and sequence the DNA in- country with local researchers, providing rapid knowledge about the fishery. Our preliminary results suggest that there are novel species that are being marketed and consumed before they are named. These rapid technologies my lab employs may enable us to describe the biodiversity before it is lost. In addition, we are re-analyzing the water column microbiomes for environmental DNA using shark specific primers to provide habitat maps for various shark species. These techniques should be added to all future biodiversity assessments.