A tool for finding rare marine species

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Science  15 Jun 2018:
Vol. 360, Issue 6394, pp. 1180-1182
DOI: 10.1126/science.aao3787

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By their very nature, rare marine species are challenging to study. They often elude detection by established research methods because of their scarcity and patchy distribution. Their small populations demand the use of sampling techniques that minimize the risks of injury or death and that conserve the habitats and ecological communities that support them. At the same time, ever more once-common marine species are becoming rare as threats such as overfishing, invasive species, and environmental destruction reduce their abundance (1). Analysis of environmental DNA (eDNA) shows promise as a rapid, safe, sensitive, and cost-effective means for detecting and studying rare marine species.