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Animal Biodiversity

Welcome! The Govindarajan lab studies the biodiversity and ecology of marine animals, especially the animals of the ocean's midwater. Towards that end, we use environmental DNA approaches to address questions related to diel vertical migration, food web interactions, and the biological carbon pump. Given the vast size of the ecosystem and the logistical challenges for studying deep water habitats, we develop and apply autonomous sampling approaches which we use in conjunction with a range of deep sea exploration platforms.


Specific research topics include:


  • Development and application of autonomous eDNA samplers with in situ filtration coupled with AUV, ROV, and towed platforms; including the development and application of autonomous adaptive sampling


  • Creating genetic reference databases for DNA barcoding and metabarcoding of mesopelagic fishes


  • Molecular systematics, phylogenetics, ecology and evolution of jellyfishes




  • New in 2023! We have a new paper out in Oceanography on eDNA sampling technology and approaches, and our work is highlighted on the cover (shown above)! This paper discusses some of the considerations and challenges for eDNA studies in the ocean twilight zone and deeper ocean regions. We present some of our ongoing work on autonomous eDNA sampling with different platforms (the robot Mesobot and the towed instrument Deep-See; pictured on the cover). We are using autonomous adaptive sampling in combination with acoustics and other data to better understand diel vertical migration (the largest migration on the planet!).


  • If you have any interesting jellyfish sightings to share, please send an email to:!