Between September 26th and October 6th 2023, a group of ATLASea researchers participated in a sampling expedition in Leucate, near Narbonne on the western side of the French Mediterranean coast. The expedition was organized by the Museum national d’Histoire naturelle.
After collecting the samples, the boat crews and divers placed them in cold water and then delivered them to a first station ashore lab. There, the sampled specimens were rinsed, sieved, and carefully transported to the sorting laboratory. Next, a group of taxonomists, specialists in different groups of organisms, individually identified all the samples. Specimens designated for genome sequencing were dissected and stored in liquid nitrogen to preserve the tissues. At the end of the expedition, all collected samples were transported in dry ice at very low temperatures to Genoscope in Evry, where the DNA will be extracted and sequenced.
This first sampling expedition allowed ATLASea researchers to test the implementation of the so-called “cold chain” and the acquisition of all metadata, both of which are essential for further genomics work. ATLASea added 108 species to its collection for sequencing, including molluscs, crustaceans, and algae.