Big Ideas

Revive & Restore selected a suite of “Big Idea” proposals that would both demonstrate the power of genomic technologies and address a significant conservation challenge.

1.     MARINE BANKING & SEQUENCING FUND

This initiative brings an innovative conservation focus to generating sequences and banking life for critical conservation needs and threatened wildlife by identifying novel applications that would benefit from the use of genomic data. An advisory committee and competitive grants program will ensure that funded projects have well defined benefits.

TECHNOLOGY: Cryopreservation; NextGen Sequencing
TIMEFRAME: 2 – 3 YEARS
BUDGET: $2,025,000

2.     ADVANCED CORAL TOOLKIT

The objective of this many faceted project is to develop tools needed for coral research and restoration to respond to the coral crisis. Research and development of techniques in the cryopreservation of coral eggs, micro-fragments as well as advancing techniques for inducible spawning will help in the short term. Longer term research of stem cell capabilities may open genetic engineering pathways.

TECHNOLOGY: Cryopreservation; Coral micro-fragments; Inducible Spawning; Stem Cells
TIMEFRAME: 3 YEARS
BUDGET: $1,694,000

3.     GENOMICS GUIDING MPA’S

An innovative genomic-based tool known as “close-kin mark and recapture” will leverage a $1M study to monitor the effectiveness and ecosystem benefits of marine protection- a potential game-changer for planning and evaluating marine protection strategies.

TECHNOLOGY: Genotyping; Close Kin Mark and Recapture
TIMEFRAME: 3 YEARS
BUDGET: $600,000

4.     Disrupting Illegal Trade

Enhanced monitoring using modern genomic tools could transform the interdiction of illegal wildlife trade. This project would couple advanced market commitments for hand-held sequencers with focused training programs to help officials monitor and stop the trade in illegal wildlife and fisheries.

TECHNOLOGY: Digital Quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction (qPCR)
TIMEFRAME: 3 YEARS
BUDGET: $415,800

5.     COUPLING TECH FOR BIOSURVEILLANCE

This project will transform traceability in global marine fisheries by coupling emerging molecular genetic tools, such as environmental eDNA, with satellite-based fishing vessel tracking systems.

TECHNOLOGY: eDNA
TIMEFRAME: 2 YEARS
BUDGET: $381,150

6.     Restoring Islands to Restore Reefs

Recent research has uncovered strong correlations between vibrant seabird colonies and more resilient nearshore ecosystems like coral reefs. This study would leverage significant co-funding to explore and confirm the causal benefits of restoring seabird colonies by eradicating invasive rats. The findings could transform our understanding of contributing factors of resilience in a changing climate.

TECHNOLOGY: eDNA
TIMEFRAME: 5 YEARS
BUDGET: $3,078,000

7.     Protecting Seabeds and the High Seas

Exploitation of the high seas is increasing and exacerbating threats to biodiversity, which is both poorly known and difficult to study. In response, negotiations at the United Nations have been initiated to create a governance structure to assess, share, and protect these global resources. Environmental DNA technologies represent a potentially game-changing tool to assess and protect these resources. This competitive project would accelerate the development of critically needed eDNA tools.

TECHNOLOGY: eDNA; Machine Learning; Robotics; Bioinformatics
TIMEFRAME: 3 YEARS
BUDGET: $3,000,000

8.     Transforming Pollution Detection

This big idea includes three areas for innovation: diagnostics, sampling, and data visualization. The diagnostics relies on deploying digital PCR machines to detect selected indicator bacteria. The project will reduce monitoring program costs by developing and deploying rapidly evolving remote aerial and aquatic drone platforms. Lastly, data visualization tools will engage the public to foster increased involvement in pollution abatement.

TECHNOLOGY: eDNA; qPCR
TIMEFRAME: 2.5 YEARS
BUDGET: $400,000

9.     Targeting Invasives

This proof of concept project brings much needed innovation to the intractable problem of marine invasives. Genetic biocontrol could reduce pest species populations while minimizing the off-target effects of other control options. A partnership with CSIRO is central to the early foundation steps in developing these biocontrols.

TECHNOLOGY: Genetic engineering of repressible lethal & pheromone disruption traits
TIMEFRAME: 3 YEARS
BUDGET: $450,000

10.     De-Extinction of the Great Auk

This project would initiate the scientific research to bring back the great auk, a large flightless seabird of the North Atlantic. De-extinction efforts require the full suite of genetic rescue tools. In addition to potentially replacing a key component of North Atlantic ecosystems, the pursuit of de-extinction of the great auk would likely create new techniques to facilitate adaptation and enhance resilience in threatened marine birds.

TECHNOLOGY: Avian germ-line transmission
TIMEFRAME:
3 YEARS
BUDGET: $675,000

The applied use of biotechnology to solve troubling ocean conservation challenges is still a nascent field —despite offering tremendous potential. With that in mind, the following “Big Idea” proposals were primarily evaluated on the potential for early investments to build transformative change and to be catalytic for this emerging field. Each of these game-changing proposals have:

    • Attracted outstanding expertise and an engaged team of scientists passionate about their work.
    • Address a significant conservation barrier or marine management issue.
    • Demonstrate a clear technology development path with opportunities for early wins based on clear milestones.
    • And with success, have high potential for scalability and follow-on funding and support.

If you are interested in learning more about these projects, please contact Ryan Phelan, ryan(at)reviverestore.org.