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HomeMaritimeWorld's First Open Database of Environmental DNA Big Data Opens

World’s First Open Database of Environmental DNA Big Data Opens

In a world where everything feels so unsure, all one can do is count on science to steer them in the right direction. As technology advances not only vastly but smartly, man gets one step closer to a full-out deep-dive assault on climate change. NYK Line furthered their environmental mission to understanding climate change when it established the world’s first-ever Open Database of Environmental DNA (eDNA) Big Data on June 2 and established a consortium on June 1. 

eDNA is an emerging technology that will help answer many questions about the water column and seafloor. Through collecting the genetic material shed by organisms into their environment. A scientist collects water at a location using water sampling tools and will conduct studies on the sample. If scientists want to know what species are present in a particular location, what the biodiversity of the area is, and if any invasive or endangered species are present they will use the process of eDNA; it can identify organisms and characterize their role in the area’s food web and ecosystem. 

The database, better known as ANEMONE DB or All Nippon eDNA Monitoring Network, has a simple mission; to research the effects of global warming and detect the appearance of southern species in Shizugawa Bay while fish surveys are conducted. 

Since 2019, NYK Line has collaborated with the University of Tsukuba and Kazusa DNA Research Institute; under the watchful eye of Dr. Kondoh of Tohoku University, located in the town of Minamisanriku, Earthwatch, Japan. The ANEMONE DB intends to open the scope of knowledge about the utilization of eDNA.

The survey opened to the public on June 2 and is managed by Dr. Kondoh. However, many wonder why the press released a statement about the world-changing database as late as June 27. 

The Environmental DNA observation network observed the study while it was being conducted in its testing phase. The Network consisted of national research institutes, municipalities, and corporations from all over Japan. A Representative of the ANEMONE Consortium, Dr. Kondoh, spoke of his personal endeavors regarding taking on this world-changing project, “Deterioration of ecosystems and biodiversity has progressed, and this has become a universal issue that needs to be addressed immediately. Japan has developed and nurtured a culture by receiving the blessings of abundant nature. We collect biodiversity information in this northeastern region, the center of the primary industry blessed with nature, and make it available to everyone by supporting and collaborating with industry, government, academia, and the private sector. We want to promote the utilization of valuable data for nature. Humans live in both nature and society. We want to contribute to creating a system in which nature and society, which are the foundations of humankind, can support each other’s affluence.”

The initial survey covered the span of 861 various locations, where they comprised a total of 4,298 surveys. With 55 coasts, 18 rivers, four lakes, and marshes being part of the 861 locations, the survey could get a full scope of the complete ecology of the environment. The data’s results led to the conclusion that, due to global warming, the movement of fish distribution to the north changes fisheries. 

ANEMONE DB also “successfully captured wide-area fluctuations such as the changing of the distribution of Japan coastal fish species.” Due to conclusions made during the trial stage, scientists could demonstrate the usefulness of high-precision ecosystem big data in fishery resource management, amplifying their purpose.

Granting a new wave of hope, the ANEMONE Consortium was established on June 1 to strengthen ANEMONE DB’s management system and raise social awareness of nature-positive thinking. NYK Line said that it hopes this consortium will take the lead in educational endeavors, including seminars to promote the utilization of ANEMONE DB, while also setting up working groups for sharing specialized knowledge. 

The collaboration consists of thirteen companies or groups and four individual contributors. Their like-minded passions lead the consortium to have three purposes in its expansion, the first being: Efforts to achieve Nature Positive. The second is the development and dissemination of environmental DNA technology. In contrast, the third purpose remains to establish the foundation of ANEMONE DB.

The newly established consortium will continue to push the path of resistance by planning to expand ANEMONE DB. In their press release, the company stated that Seawater sampling on commercial ocean routes of NYK Line and Kinkai Yusen Kaisha Ltd. would get conducted once a month starting this summer. A specific date was not mentioned. The company expressed the region’s appreciation of the survey by adding that Earthwatch Japan will conduct surveys by citizen volunteers at fifty locations in fiscal 2022 and one-hundred locations in fiscal 2023.



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