Important discoveries about the effects of global climate change on ocean life are coming to light through a collaboration between scientists and the National Center for Genome Analysis Support (touch for more >>)
Researchers from the Pacific Biosciences Research Center at the University of Hawaii Mānoa and Ohio University commissioned NCGAS to provide bioinformatics skills and computational resources to study the transcriptome of zooplankton, the small, multicellular organisms that form the basis of the marine food chain.
In recent years, scientists have seen a corresponding decrease in zooplankton along with cod fisheries in the North Atlantic Ocean. Theorizing that global climate change might be to blame, the scientists needed data to fully understand the phenomenon. Deciphering the messages or “transcripts” that the organisms’ cells produced allows researchers to pinpoint the causes of population changes. Their findings were published in the paper “De Novo Assembly of a Transcriptome for Calanus finmarchicus (Crustacea, Copepoda)” in the February 2014 issue of the journal PLOS ONE.
“It is critical to understand the effects of global climate change on ocean life — particularly on fisheries and other economically important marine animals,” said Richard LeDuc, NCGAS manager. “This paper addresses fundamental questions about molecular changes in the zooplankton over their life cycle.”