Neil Gemmell from the University of Otago and his colleagues plan to use environmental DNA sampling to collect genetic material from the lake and use that to catalog what organisms live there. While Newsweek says this approach could unearth the mythological creature, it could also suggest animals that live there that could have been mistaken for it.
"Large fish like catfish and sturgeons, have been suggested as possible explanations for the monster myth, and we can very much test that idea and others," Gemmell says in a statement.
At the same time, he and his team hope to learn more about the native and invasive species such as Pacific pink salmon in the lake, which is the largest body of freshwater in the UK, Newsweek adds. Gemmell suspects that he and his team will likely uncover novel types of bacteria through their sampling.
Gemmell has previously said that he doubts he and his colleagues would find Nessie, but that he has found that talking about it is a great way to hook people into their other research. "Not many people are interested in hearing about what we're discovering," Gemmell told Scientific American earlier this month, "but they are interested in the Loch Ness Monster."