Novel eDNA Collection Technology Enabling Bio-monitoring and Estimation of Species Abundance

Working on a novel eDNA technique to estimate species abundance. Image by Michael Sale, Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0.

Detecting eDNA (environmental DNA) shed by aquatic species is a cost-effective and powerful tool for biodiversity and biosecurity monitoring. But eDNA can be slow to filter from water and requires equipment to do so. It is also mostly limited to determining the presence or absence of species, not their abundance or distribution.

In this project we are developing cheap, low-tech, eDNA collection devices for biomonitoring that will eliminate the filtration step and be deployable at scale and where technology is difficult to source (such as in developing nations). Our cost-effective method for broad scale species detection will enhance the management of natural resources throughout the world. We are also taking advantage of the high-density eDNA sampling that these devices will enable to develop new analytical ways to estimate species abundance.

Lead: Cindy Bessey
Collaborators: Oceans & Atmosphere, The University of Western Australia, Curtin University