Recent Progress in Aquatic Research

Aquatic ecosystems, spanning oceans, lakes, rivers, and wetlands, play a vital role in our planet’s health. Scientists continually strive to unravel the mysteries of these dynamic environments, and recent progress in aquatic research has been nothing short of remarkable. Let’s delve into some key developments:

1. Non-Targeted Metabolomics: A Window into Microbial Communities

Advances in bioanalytical technologies have expanded our understanding of complex ecosystems. Among these, non-targeted metabolomics has emerged as a powerful tool. Researchers like Monica Thukral, Andrew E. Allen, and Daniel Petras have explored aquatic microbial communities using this approach [1]. Unlike targeted metabolomics, which focuses on specific compounds, non-targeted metabolomics aims to detect all metabolites within a sample. By analyzing the chemical diversity of aquatic systems, we gain insights into ecological interactions, nutrient cycling, and microbial metabolism. Biosurfactants-based bioremediation is considered an efficient technology to eliminate environmental pollutants including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) [2].

2. Mass Spectrometry Unleashed

Mass spectrometry (MS) lies at the heart of metabolomics. Recent developments in MS technology have revolutionized aquatic research. High-resolution orbitrap and Q-ToF platforms now offer enhanced sensitivity, resolution, and scan speed [1]. Additionally, molecular networking, long-read sequencing, and machine learning tools have further enriched our analytical capabilities [1]. These advancements empower scientists to identify novel metabolites, elucidate their functions, and understand ecosystem dynamics. Using lipid imaging mass spectrometry (LIMS), we scanned spinal cord sections from nine animals injected with lysophosphatidylcholine, a chemical model of demyelination [3].

3. Bridging Natural Product Chemistry and Aquatic Ecology

Natural product chemistry, traditionally associated with drug discovery, intersects with aquatic research. Organic compounds isolated from aquatic organisms provide valuable insights. Techniques like nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy and MS help elucidate their structures and assess biological activities [1]. By bridging these disciplines, we uncover hidden chemical treasures within aquatic ecosystems. Active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and their transformation products inevitably enter waterways where they might cause adverse effects to aquatic organisms [4].

4. Challenges and Opportunities

Despite progress, challenges persist. Data integration remains crucial—combining omics data (genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, and metabolomics) enhances our holistic understanding of aquatic systems. Additionally, standardization of protocols and cross-disciplinary collaborations are essential [1]. As we explore uncharted waters, ethical considerations and environmental impact assessments must guide our research. The environmental integrity of aquatic ecosystems is increasingly threatened by the discharge of chemical pollutants, posing significant risks to biodiversity and human health [5].


Recent strides in aquatic research propel us toward a deeper comprehension of Earth’s blue realms. By harnessing cutting-edge technologies and fostering interdisciplinary collaboration, we unlock the secrets of aquatic life. So, let’s continue our scientific voyage, one metabolite at a time.

Remember, the aquatic world teems with wonders waiting to be discovered. Whether you’re a scientist, a nature enthusiast, or simply curious, dive in—the depths hold endless surprises!

List of top most journals in Aquatic Research (2024)

Journal title CiteScore Publisher
NeoBiota 7.7 Pensoft Publishers
Ocean and Coastal Management 7.7 Elsevier
Progress in Oceanography 7.6 Elsevier
Aquaculture, Economics and Management 7.4 Taylor & Francis
Coral Reefs 7.4 Springer Nature
Marine Policy 7 Elsevier
Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part – C: Toxicology and Pharmacology 6.8 Elsevier
Aquaculture and Fisheries 6.7 KeAi Communications Co.
Journal of Applied Phycology 6.5 Springer Nature
Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences 6.5 Wiley-Blackwell
Egyptian Journal of Aquatic Research 6.4 National Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries
Aquacultural Engineering 6.3 Elsevier
Aquaculture Nutrition 6.3 Wiley-Blackwell
ICES Journal of Marine Science 6.3 Oxford University Press
Journal of Phycology 6.2 Wiley-Blackwell
Aquaculture Environment Interactions 6.1 Inter-Research
Freshwater Biology 6.1 Wiley-Blackwell
Phytochemistry 6.1 Elsevier
Biofouling 6 Taylor & Francis
Marine Environmental Research 6 Elsevier


What is open access journal?

An open access journal is an academic journal that publishes scholarly papers and makes the content available for access, download, reading, and distribution without charging subscription fees. People commonly refer to open access journals as “free journals” since users do not have to pay to read or use their contents. In the general context, it is somehow correct. But technically, most open access journals use Creative Commons licenses, which are public licenses that allow content usage and impose certain restrictions, if any. Such restrictions may include attribution, modifications, and non-commercialization. Open access journals are growing in popularity and are well respected in academia. Major databases such as the Directory of Open Access Publishing have begun focusing on indexing and promoting high-quality open access journals. More established databases have also followed suit. The presence of established databases in promoting open access journals is an important validation and recognition of open research.

What is open peer review?

Open peer review (OPR), where review reports and reviewers’ identities are published alongside the articles, represents one of the last aspects of the open science movement to be widely embraced, although its adoption has been growing since the turn of the century (Wolfram etal., 2020) [6]. Open peer review refers to various modifications of the traditional scholarly peer review process. These modifications aim to address perceived shortcomings of the conventional system. Here are the three common forms of open peer review:

  1. Open Identities:
  • In open peer review, authors and reviewers are aware of each other’s identities. Unlike traditional peer review, where reviewers remain anonymous to anyone but the journal’s editors, open peer review allows transparency by revealing reviewer names to authors.
  • However, reviewer identities may or may not be disclosed to the public.
  1. Open Reports:
  • Under this model, review reports are made public, rather than being confidentially shared only with the article’s authors. This includes publishing not only the reviewers’ comments but also the authors’ responses and editors’ recommendations.
  • Typically, this applies to articles accepted for publication, not those that are rejected. 
  1. Open Participation:
  • In open peer review, self-selected reviewers (beyond invited experts) can comment on an article. The assumption is that the article’s content is openly accessible.
  • These self-selected reviewers may contribute either brief comments or comprehensive reviews.
  • The text of the article is openly available, allowing broader community participation in the review process.

The adoption of open peer review aims to enhance transparency, provide incentives, reduce wastefulness, and address issues like bullying and harassment in scholarly communication.

What are the benefits of Open Peer Review?

Open peer review (OPR) is a transparent process that allows scholarly articles to be evaluated by experts in the field, while also revealing the identities of both authors and reviewers. OPR can improve the quality of research by:

  • Encouraging constructive feedback: Openness in the identities of authors and reviewers can lead to better quality feedback rather than simply rejecting the paper.
  • Reducing bias: Everything is openly available to all, which can reduce the possibility of bias.
  • Empowering authors: Authors can lead the process by suggesting reviewers themselves.
  • Improving accountability: The quality of current scientific publications is at stake.
  • Encouraging collaboration: OPR encourages collaboration and promotes diversity of perspectives, ultimately leading to more robust and credible research outcomes.
  • Providing learning opportunities: OPR places a research work in the context of a discussion, and gives authors, readers and others a chance to better understand the process from the initial manuscript submission to final published version.
  • Exposing possible conflicts of interest: OPR may help to expose possible conflicts of interest in some cases.

Adoption of OPR by publishers (Wolfram etal., 2020) [6] 

A summary of the most prolific publishers contributing to OPR and their headquarters country appears below. Although many journals today attract an international audience and are managed by international teams of researchers, the prevalence of OPR journals associated with publishers based in Europe stands out. Twenty-four of the 38 (63.2%) identified publishers are based in Europe and account for 445 out of the 617 titles (72.1%). Although the publishers are based in Europe, many of the journals they publish may support journals originating from other areas of the world (e.g., Kowsar). Furthermore, 500 of the OPR journals (81.0%) are published by only five publishers (MDPI, SDI, BioMed Central, Frontiers Media S.A., Kowsar). This points to the important role that publishers have played to date in the promotion of OPR (Wolfram etal., 2020) [6].

Publisher OPR journals Percentage of OPR journals (%) Headquarters location
MDPI 204 33.0 Switzerland
SDI 111 18.0 India
BioMed central 70 11.3 United Kingdom
Frontiers media S.A 64 10.4 Switzerland
Kowsar 51 8.3 The Netherlands
Wiley 40 6.5 USA
Copernicus publications 21 3.4 Germany
PLOS 7 1.1 USA
Elsevier 7 1.1 The Netherlands
EMBO press 5 0.8 Germany
Other publishers 37 6.0 11 countries*
Total 617 100.0
  1. *United Kingdom (19 journals), United States (9), Argentina (1), Bulgaria (1), Canada (1), France (1), Germany (1), Ireland (1), Kenya (1), The Netherlands (1), Switzerland (1)

List of open Peer-review journals in aquatic research (2024)

  1. Aquaculture Journal (Website:
  2. Water (Website:
  3. Asian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Research (Website:


  1. Thukral, M., Allen, A. E., & Petras, D. (2023). Progress and challenges in exploring aquatic microbial communities using non-targeted metabolomics. The ISME Journal, 17(9), 2147–2159.
  2. Phulpoto, I. A., Qi, Z., Qazi, M. A., & Yu, Z. (2024). Biosurfactants-based mixed polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon degradation: From microbial community structure toward non-targeted metabolomic profile determination. Environment International, 184, 108448.
  3. Calvo, I., Montilla, A., Huergo, C., Martín-Saiz, L., Martín-Allende, J., Tepavcevic, V., … & Fernández, J. A. (2024). Combining imaging mass spectrometry and immunohistochemistry to analyse the lipidome of spinal cord inflammation. Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, 1-11.
  4. Spilsbury, F. D., Inostroza, P. A., Svedberg, P., Cannata, C., Ragas, A. M. J., & Backhaus, T. (2024). Defining the data gap: what do we know about environmental exposure, hazards and risks of pharmaceuticals in the European aquatic environment?. Water Research, 251, 121002.
  5. Abatan, A., Obaigbena, A., Ugwuanyi, E. D., Jacks, B. S., Umoga, U. J., Daraojimba, O. H., & Lottu, O. A. (2024). INTEGRATED SIMULATION FRAMEWORKS FOR ASSESSING THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OF CHEMICAL POLLUTANTS IN AQUATIC SYSTEMS. Engineering Science & Technology Journal, 5(2), 543-554.
  6. Wolfram, D., Wang, P., Hembree, A. et al. Open peer review: promoting transparency in open science. Scientometrics 125, 1033–1051 (2020).


Connect With Our Aquatic Subject Matter Experts

Seeking guidance in the dynamic realm of Aquatic Research? Look no further than the expertise of IRP professionals. They stand ready to steer you through uncharted research avenues and transform challenges into opportunities for advancement. Reach out to them today to elevate your Aquatic Research endeavors and ensure a prosperous future for the field.

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