There Reeves). DNA surveillance is important because it is

There are
three major threats to conserving biodiversity: climate change, habitat
destruction and species exploitation. Species are exploited directly through
regulated, illegal and unregulated exploitation. Unregulated exploitation is
for bush meat and subsistence hunting. A significant amount of species are
exploited by fisheries bycatch. “According to Traffic, illegal wildlife trade
may be valued up to hundreds of millions of dollars” on the World Wildlife Fund
website (“Illegal Wildlife Trade”).

The
objective of this lab is to explore and learn about the Polymerase Chain
Reaction (PCR), DNA sequences and BLAST and evaluate how they can be used for
conservation in order to better monitor fish and wildlife that are harvested illegally
by exploring the history of whale meat internationally.

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The
International Whaling Commission issued a temporary ban in 1986 for many whale
species(Baker, et al). However, many countries like Japan and Korea were found
to still be harvesting by stating it for science and bycatch. This has made
whale meat more widespread through out the world (Baker, et al). DNA barcoding
can help identify species through tissue samples, therefore giving scientists a
way to easily identify if it is involved in illegal trade (Baker, et al).  One difficulty is that Convention on
International Trade in Endangered Species, didn’t allow transportation of
tissue samples outside of the country it was from. Scientists then decided to
copy the DNA through the Polymerase Chain Reaction (Baker, et al). Many marine
species are not protected globally but consumption is increasing. According to
Robards and Reeves, “Since 1990, people in at least 114 countries have consumed
one or more of at least 87 marine mammal species. Although changing social,
ecological, or political circumstances are leading to reduced killing and
consumption of marine mammals in some regions, in other regions the prevailing
socio-economic conditions and new technologies are leading to increased killing
and consumption, particularly of small cetaceans” (Robards and Reeves). DNA surveillance
is important because it is a web database of mitochondrial DNA for many
recognized marine species increasing scientists success in identifying species
based on DNA sequencing.

This lab used the short finned pilot whale and
Chinook Salmon in Part 2. The short finned pilot whale is a species that
prefers warmer temperatures that have a characteristic large body, that either
comes in a black or grey color that eat squid and fish (“Short finned pilot
whale”). According to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Chinook
Salmon are found to be up to 15 pounds and one of the largest Pacific Salmon
and are characterized by a dark mouth and gums (“Salmon/Steelhead Species Information”).