GMGI Research Programs Attract Funding

eDNA Research for Gulf of Maine Fisheries

In late July Gov. Charlie Baker signed the new state budget that includes an appropriation for $150,000 to fund a new fishery research program. The program will be managed by GMGI in collaboration with the University of Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries.

This will support GMGI’s mission to develop new genomics tools for marine surveys and population assessments which should lead to better understandings of the structure and biology of fish populations and fisheries in the Gulf of Maine.

All marine organisms shed DNA into their surrounding environment through skin, feces, mucus and urine. Through sequencing of eDNA from filtered ocean samples it is possible to determine the presence and absence of particular fish species in a particular region. GMGI is developing the molecular test components for prototype surveys of fish species in the Gulf of Maine and focused surveys for the Atlantic cod. We are also testing water samples from offshore groundfish trawls provided with support from the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries.

Sea Urchin Longevity Research

In September GMGI was generously awarded a one year $200,000 grant from the Dusky Fund to provide seed funding that will enable GMGI Science Director Dr. Andrea Bodnar to continue research on the red sea urchin, long a focus of her professional research career*. The red sea urchin, Mesocentrotus franciscanus, is reported to be one of the earth’s longest-lived animals, living for over 200 years with indeterminate growth, life-long reproduction capacity and no increase in mortality rate or disease occurrence with age. These remarkable constituent properties are of interest for potential applications to therapeutic and preventative strategies for age-related degenerative diseases.

Project results are expected to be reported to the scientific community through publication in a peer-reviewed scientific journal and through presentations at scientific conferences. Significantly, the results may provide data important for future proposals to granting agencies, with the goal of positioning the project for useful biomedical applications.

*Bodnar references:

Bodnar, A.G. and Coffman, J.A. (2016) Maintenance of somatic regenerative capacity with age in short- and long-lived species of sea urchins. Aging Cell 15, 778–787. (

Bodnar, A.G. (2016) Lessons from the sea: Marine animals provide models for biomedical research. Environment: Science and Policy for Sustainable Development, 58:2, 16-25. (

Bodnar, A.G. (2015) Cellular and molecular mechanisms of negligible senescence: insight from the sea urchin. Invertebrate Reproduction & Development, 59:sup1, 23-27. (

Click here to view the September 2018 Newsletter >>

Science Director Andrea Bodnar will continue research on the red sea urchin
​Tim Sullivan, GMGI Fishery Scientist, will be working on the eDNA research project
Our mission is to conduct world-class marine biotechnology research which expands the regional economy.

Gloucester Marine
Genomics Institute

417 Main Street
Gloucester, MA 01930

Follow UsConnect with us!

Contact Us