Scientists believe some marine organisms may hold vital keys to addressing the climate crisis. While biodiscovery, which involves looking for natural resources to be used for innovation, has uncovered marine organisms that can be used for medicine and technology, the field is beginning to turn its attention to climate solutions as well, Business Insider reports.
Scientists are looking in the ocean for microbes that can consume methane, degrade plastic, deal with aquatic waste, and be used for biofuels.
One of the organizations ramping up research in this area is Basecamp Research, a London based startup that has raised $26 million so far for its marine biodiversity mapping expeditions. The company is currently partnering with governments and research facilities on a project called Heritage Malta, which sends divers to wreckage sites to collect samples of sediment in an effort to better understand how microbes evolve in response to wreckage sites.
While critics are concerned about the environmental impact of such work, efforts to protect the ocean are growing in tandem with the interest in biodiscovery. The United Nation's Nagoya Protocol promotes sharing the benefits of genetic resources in an equitable way. The High Seas Treaty contains 75 articles ensuring the responsible use of marine resources and protection of marine environments.