MSC Cruises and MSC Foundation announced a partnership with NatureMetrics to collect comprehensive biodiversity data for marine species, according to a press release.
The project, titled “eBioAtlas: Biodiversity Sampling from Cruise Liners using eDNA”, uses innovative DNA sampling to collect eDNA from seawater while onboard. The data is then sent to the NatureMetrics team who will analyze marine wildlife present across their MSC cruise routes.
Daniela Picco, executive director of the MSC Foundation, said: “The MSC Foundation is committed to advancing ocean conservation through science. It was therefore only natural for us to join forces with NatureMetrics to support vital biodiversity mapping, assisting the International Union for Conservation of Nature to perform the assessments that are critical indicators of global biodiversity health.”
The eBioAtlas program will acquire biodiversity data from three MSC Cruises itineraries. Seawater samples will be collected using specially designed eDNA collection kits. The first ship to participate in the program will be the MSC Euribia, set to begin data collection in the Nordic region. After this, samples will be collected onboard the MSC Poesia in Iceland and Greenland and then the MSC Preziosa in Iceland, Norway and Svalbard.
Linden Coppell, vice president of sustainability and ESG at MSC Cruises, said: “Our innovative partnership with NatureMetrics is more than just a strategic alliance. It’s a commitment to harnessing advanced eDNA technologies and global collaboration to drive our sustainability and conservation efforts. It’s about utilizing our resources wisely and optimizing processes to make the best possible decisions for our planet’s future. We are proud to be supporting this vital work by taking samples on 4 ships over 11 cruises, for a total of 114 sampling days this year.”
Marina Anselme, secretary general at the MSC Foundation, said: “The MSC Foundation is delighted to facilitate and fund this groundbreaking partnership with NatureMetrics and MSC Cruises. This partnership is a testament to our commitment to protect our oceans and create a nature-positive future for generations to come.”