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Ocean Genome Legacy Newsletter
April 2011

banner 600pixel    exploring, preserving and protecting the genetic diversity of the world's oceans

In This Issue
Collection Update
Coming Soon: How to barcode a fish
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This month, we want to update you on our efforts to grow the Ocean Genome Resource - a DNA and tissue biorepository targeting species from unique and threatened marine environments including the deep sea, coral reefs, mangroves, and kelp forests.  Since our last update 6 months ago, we have DOUBLED the collection to nearly 6,500 specimens, including more than 1,900 different species! Read on to learn about our latest acquisition and how it may help preserve a remarkable marine ecosystem.

And, as always, follow our expeditions and other news from the marine world on our Facebook and Twitter pages!

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Archiving the forests under the Sea   

Giant kelp dominate in Channel Islands National Park

Our newest acquisition is a complete set

of all kelp forest indicator species monitored by the Channel Islands National Park, a marine preserve off the coast of California. Indicator species are sensitive species that scientists use to monitor the health of an entire ecosystem. This new collection, created in partnership with the US National Park Service and Coastal Marine Biolabs, (Ventura CA) makes the Channel Islands National Park the first to archive DNA from all of its indicator species! 


Kelp forests are very important environments. These forests under the sea are named for the macroalgae that dominate their seascape. Like trees in terrestrial forests, giant kelp provides food and shelter to over 1,000 kelp forest species. Their holdfasts, root-like structures that anchor them to the sea floor, are excellent hiding places and function as nurseries for juvenile rockfish and invertebrates such as spiny lobster, sea cucumbers, and sea urchins. Humans use kelp, too! Kelp is used to make many foods and other products including ice cream, soaps, and shampoos.  

Kelp Forest Species2

Kelp forest species from the Channel Islands National Park 

Genomic DNA from each is archived at OGL

In collaboration with biologists at the Channel Islands National Park, students and faculty from Coastal Marine Biolabs collected, identified, and studied kelp forest animals. And, to give more value to their work, they deposit DNA from their collections to the OGR. 

This project marks the first effort to create a permanent DNA record of the diversity of species a National Park! In the future, scientists will use this record as a baseline for comparison to help determine if species populations are healthy and if conservation efforts are successful.        

OGL is proud to join with marine scientists, research laboratories, educational institutions, and conservation organizations worldwide to participate in such important work.  We thank all of our collaborators and depositors!    

 Coming Soon...

How do you barcode a fish? 

DNA "barcodes" help identify species


Next month, we'll tell you about efforts to use DNA "barcodes" to help identify marine species.  OGL is contributing to this global initiative through collaborations with the

Marine Barcode of Life and the Census of Marine Life.


Want to help OGL document and preserve the spectacular genetic diversity of our world's oceans?  Visit


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Dan Distel
Ocean Genome Legacy               Find us on Facebook      Follow us on Twitter