Research Q&A from MEAM: What Genetics Contributes to Ocean Conservation

The Marine Ecosystems and Management (MEAM) information service interviewed four marine genetics researchers to find out “How genetics can improve marine conservation and management.” The interview was conducted in response to a paper published in the Global Ecology and Conservation journal suggesting that genetics have a role in conservation but that the role is not well understood.

Some applications for genetics identified by MEAM include detecting illegal and unregulated fishing, investigating invasive or endangered species, defining conservation units, augmenting the potential to adapt to changes such as climate change and determining the effectiveness of marine protection areas.

The researchers interviewed by MEAM include Ángel Borja and Naiara Rodríguez-Ezpeleta (senior researchers at the AZTI technology center in Spain), Sophie von der Heyden (associate professor of marine conservation genomics at the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa) and Francine Kershaw (project scientist with the Marine Mammal Protection Project and Oceans Program at Natural Resources Defense Council in the U.S.)

Learn more and read the full interview at MEAM.

Visit Global Ecology and Conservation to read the full, open-access text of the paper, “Bridging the conservation genetics gap by identifying barriers to implementation for conservation practitioners.”

Image credit: Prof. Gordon T. Taylor, Stony Brook University – corp2365, NOAA Corps Collection, Public Domain,

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