The earth's climate is changing rapidly and nowhere more so than in polar regions. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has noted that polar marine ecosystems are especially vulnerable to climate change impacts, through the synergistic effects of both thermal climate changes and ocean acidification. How such impacts will transpire biologically and the flow-on effects from this are quite unclear, and there is broad acknowledgment of this scientifically and in terms of public policy. Polar ecosystems are extremely difficult to work in and gather field data from, so there is a strong need to appraise the efficacy of powerful new techniques for studying them. This project (ICEDNA) proposes to appraise and apply the nascent technique of environmental DNA (eDNA) analysis to elucidate how polar marine ecosystems respond to environmental impacts. ICEDNA leverages on recent manipulative and ecological field experiments in Antarctic nearshore ecosystems. These experiments focused on detection of fine scale human impacts from research stations and the biological impacts from ocean acidification. By marrying spatially and temporally nested eDNA data with traditional physical, chemical and biological data collection techniques, ICEDNA will yield a thorough understanding of the uses and limits of eDNA for marine (and polar) biodiversity and ecological monitoring, which is at the forefront of marine ecological research. These data will also yield unprecedented insight into (1) how polar marine communities respond to small scale human impacts and (2) how these communities respond to the large scale human impact of ocean acidification. ICEDNA combines the latest eDNA methods from Europe with the applicants extensive applied ecology experience, to produce a dynamic multidisciplinary researcher.
Fields of science
Call for proposal
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