Discover 18 environmental DNA applications to help achieve nature positive goals
WHAT IS eDNA?
Organisms shed DNA into their surrounding environment via skin, scales, feces, and bodily fluids. Scientists can collect and analyze this complex mixture of environmental DNA (eDNA) to detect the presence of a species of interest (e.g., endangered, invasive, or pathogen) or to describe entire biological communities without disturbing the environment.
Dive into the biodiversity of deepwater ecosystems
Corals, jellyfish, fish, whales, and other marine animals leave invisible signs of their presence. With more than 90% of the world's marine biodiversity yet to be discovered, eDNA can economically capture missing information without disrupting the environment.
Food Web & Biodiversity
A water sample can contain eDNA from many species, allowing for broad ecosystem surveys. Anything from microbes to whales can be identified, helping characterize their roles within food webs.
Impacts of Industry
eDNA surveys have direct applications for a wide range of industrial projects and can help streamline project environmental considerations and implications that involve environmental permitting needs.
Ecosystem restoration re-establishes ecological function to damaged or degraded environments through design and construction management. eDNA complements nature-based solutions to improve monitoring and management of the biological communities.
Species at Risk
Effective eDNA sampling complements conventional surveys to detect at-risk species. In some case, eDNA can replace conventional methods that pose safety concerns or when physical capture of rare or endangered species is prohibitive or challenging.
eDNA monitoring programs remove the need to directly collect fish or other species. This helps scientists proactively and rapidly test for pathogens before they become widespread.
eDNA enhances public and regulatory support by demonstrating effective assistance for habitat reintroduction or creation. eDNA also enhances long-term monitoring programs that preserve biodiversity in a reliable, timely, and cost-effective manner.
Microbes help clean and remove dangerous industrial chemicals and contaminants. eDNA tools can identify microbes in the soil that break down these chemicals and monitor the success of bioremediation efforts.
Endangered bats can roost in abandoned buildings. DNA from the air can identify bats without the need to view, record their calls, or capture them.
Bridges, Levees, and Power Projects
eDNA can be used to identify species living in an environment where there is new construction, repair, or removal of a water-dependent structure.
eDNA can be used for accurate, rapid, and comprehensive biodiversity assessments to investigate ecological processes, support conservation monitoring efforts, and introduce best management practices at an early stage of invasion.
Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs)
Frequency and severity of HABs are increasing due to human practices and climate change. HABs detection using eDNA methodology provides a powerful option for monitoring water quality and human health.
Innovate with the flow of aquatic ecosystems
Lakes, rivers, and streams are home to a vast number of species, including migratory endangered wild fish. eDNA monitoring tools help long-term monitoring programs that aim to restore ecological balance and health to flowing waters.
eDNA complements environmental management programs by providing a more efficient and less invasive monitoring process for subterranean ecosystems.
Remote and Weather Dependent Locations
eDNA can provide a larger sampling window for verification of species. Water samples can be collected beyond the traditional permit survey window, allowing projects to stay on schedule.
Highly complex forest ecosystems support diverse biological communities. eDNA methods can provide insight to species occupying these habitats by testing sources of drinking water, such as road ruts.
Grassland ecosystems worldwide are threatened and pollinator diversity is rapidly declining. eDNA sampling of flowers, plants, or soil can provide information on composition of pollinator insects and other invertebrates.
eDNA can be collected from soil to detect everything from microbes to insects. This reduces field sampling time compared to traditional trapping efforts and increases the number of detected species.
Infrastructure projects routinely include biological monitoring surveys for species assessments to support permitting efforts. Incorporating eDNA into biodiversity surveys improves species detection to support permitting and management decisions.
Track biodiversity safer and faster in terrestrial ecosystems
eDNA can be used on a variety of habitats and organisms found in terrestrial ecosystems, from subterranean aquifers to surface water pools to soil. The sampling methods are reliable, sensitive, and safe for the organisms and their habitats.
Ponds and Streams
Routine pond and stream eDNA monitoring detects elusive species such as the Great Crested Newt and Tiger Salamander who live under rocks in ponds and cool rushing streams.
Field-based eDNA Tools
eDNA is useful for determining species presence in remote and other challenging places to access to monitor for target species. eDNA technology is developing to provide in-field analysis for real-time species detection.
eDNA can describe entire community compositions, assess ecological health, and detect federally listed and invasive species. It provides complementary information to conventional methods, with additional information for an ecological framework.
Improve biological assessments
An effective eDNA survey considers the biology and ecology of the habitat and evaluates the environmental parameters as they influence the dispersion and longevity of eDNA in the environment.
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