The final and definitive search for The Loch Ness Monster began in 2018. By the time the final findings of the search are released in September of 2019, scientists across the globe will have been involved in gathering samples of Loch water, analysing them and matching them against gene databases.
WHY HUNT THE MONSTER?
OTHER LOCHS, OTHER MONSTERS
Although the team is using the waters of Loch Morar and Loch Oich among their control groups this investigation will also help uncover two other possible monsters. Morag and Wee Oichy are the monsters that are said to live in those Lochs so the Super Natural History team could find, or disprove, not one but 3 Loch monsters!
HERE’S HOW THE QUEST TO UNCOVER THE MYSTERIES OF LOCH NESS HAS UNFOLDED:
Neil Gemmell boarded the Deepscan with colleagues from the University of Otago, the Loch Ness Project, the University of Copenhagen, the University of Hull and the University of the Highlands and Islands. This small boat is the research vessel for the Loch Ness Project. The team travelled the length of the Loch, taking water samples at 3 different depths (as deep as 200 metres). Their days started at 6am and finished as late as midnight.
The process was as hard on equipment as it was on the scientists. Two of their sampling devices were broken during the process. This didn’t stop the sampling and by the time testing was completed more than 250 samples were taken.
The team also took samples at nearby Lochs Garry, Oich and Morar to establish a control.
All the samples from the 4 Loch were recoded to mask their source from the labs performing the analysis.
June and July 2018
The DNA was extracted from the samples at the University of Hull. From there they went to the Laboratoire D’Ecologie Alpine, in Grenoble, for metabarcoding. This part of the process effectively targeted the specific sequences in the samples from which the team would describe the life in the Loch from bacteria to vertebrates.
The team then drove the samples to Geneva, Switzerland, for next generation gene sequencing at Fasteris, with support from Illumina.
September 2018 to JUNE 2019
Over a 10 month period 6 teams, from around the globe (Otago, Grenoble, Hull, Johns Hopkins, UCSC and Illumina) worked independently of each other, and blind to the details of the samples they are analysing, to determine what could be found in the samples collected in the Highlands.
The findings of the search will be presented and the question answered: “What’s in Loch Ness?”