Ocean Genomics Horizon Scan

Phase 2: September 2018 – January 2019

Now In Process

Phase 2

In Phase 1 of this “Ocean Genomics Horizon Scan,” Revive & Restore conducted a rapid, yet extensive, interview process and literature review to identify potential areas where genetic rescue and synthetic biology could be applied to restore ocean health and bio-abundance. This work uncovered several areas where targeted funding/investment could make a significant impact. That initial report is now being extended into Phase 2: a rapid sprint to fill in any gaps in the first Phase and to further evaluate some of the initially-selected project areas. This Phase 2 work will select and develop specific recommendations for targeted funding; we intend this Horizon Scan to be broadly available as a call to action to funders for the development of new tools for ocean conservation.

Building a New Toolkit for Marine Conservation

Phase 1

At the end of last year, a new foundation dedicated to marine conservation approached Revive & Restore to conduct an “Ocean Genomic Horizon Scan,” a landscape assessment of the current availability of genomics and biotechnology tools for use in ocean conservation and the potential areas in ocean conservation where genetic rescue and synthetic biology could be catalytic for restoring ocean health and bio-abundance. Over the course of three months, our team of five researchers interviewed over 50 experts in marine biology, marine conservation, fisheries, ecology, aquaculture, genetics, synthetic biology, and genomic engineering.

These interviews reflect the emerging consensus that the pace and scale of changing ocean conditions, particularly climate change stressors, could overwhelm “traditional” conservation efforts to address threats. New forms of marine intervention are needed. The initial phase of the Horizon Scan found that, while the field is nascent, the most promising applications focus primarily on priority species and particular threats like invasive species.