Marine Biodiversity Observation Network

(MBON) Central California

The Marine Biodiversity Observation Network (MBON) project is a large network with the goal of integrating diverse measures of biodiversity to create a global biodiversity monitoring program. We work as part of the Central California MBON to combine observations from environmental DNA, remote sensing products, traditional trawls, and animal telemetry to create a model for how biodiversity observations could be conducted and scaled up in the future (Fig1).

One of the main goals of MBON is to quantify relationships between climate, the ocean environment (physics, chemistry) and marine food webs (from microbes to fish and top predators), with the aim of providing predictive understanding of marine ecosystem responses to environmental change.

Fig1: Map of sampling locations across programs that include traditional surveys of biodiversity (Net trawal, visual surveys) and incorporate eDNA: ACCESS, CalCOFI, MBARI, RREAS, Sur Ridge, and Trinidad Head Line. Observations are also made through the ATN network (figure from McHuron et al 2018 of six juvenile California sea lion tracks tagged at Año Nuevo Island); video from Sur Ridge dives (image from Barry lab ROV dive); and catch from RREAS locations (figure from Santora et al 2021 showing overall taxonomy of organisms detected).
Fig2: Taxonomic overlap between genera detected by the 12S vertebrate eDNA marker and the Rockfish Recruitment and Ecosystem Assessment Survey (RREAS) tow catch. Genera are labeled by whether they were detected by both or only one method (12S eDNA or RREAS tow).

We are also working to compare biological observations between traditional net tow measurements and novel technology like environmental DNA (Fig2). A better understanding of the biases between these two techniques will help outline how best to sample these communities in the future.

Fig 4: (A) Highest 10 relatively abundant families across dataset by depth bin. (B) Number of samples analyzed for 12S (vertebrate marker) by depth bin. (C) An RPCA (Robust PCA analysis) of samples across depth bins. Large circles represent mean PC1 and PC2 values for each depth bin. (D) Euler diagram of the number of genera overlapping between samples taken in different depth bins.

We also seek to improve observations of the deep ocean. Through environmental DNA we can see a clear partitioning of communities with depth but these observations are still very sparse compared to our sampling of the surface (Fig4). Through the MBON project we will increase our observations of life in the deep sea.



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