In case you missed it - Applying eDNA for Species Detection: Tips for Successful Integration
Environmental biomonitoring programs allow ecologists to collect species data across various geographical and temporal gradients. With this data, ecologists can characterize ecosystems and assess changes in response to various anthropogenic inputs or alterations to land use. Conventional techniques applied to collect environmental biomonitoring data can be resource intensive, costly and time consuming, and species detection accuracy can vary or have inherent collection biases. Despite ongoing efforts to update and modify standard collection protocols, conventional collection techniques can also be invasive to species and their habitats, resulting in undesirable mortality.
Environmental DNA (eDNA) presents novel opportunities for non-invasive, sight-unseen species detection and enumeration using exogenous DNA signatures found in various media: soil, water, feces, tissues, and even air. Sampling for eDNA often eliminates the requirement for collection permits and can circumvent professional barriers associated with challenging sites or rare species, making it an attractive substitute for traditional methods. The application of eDNA in industry and government sectors has expanded rapidly in recent years, with commercial laboratories now offering DNA analysis services. However, eDNA survey design requires careful planning at each phase of the process: in the field, in the laboratory, and during data analysis. SLR offers end-to-end eDNA services that design surveys on a per-project level basis, offering custom solutions to clients. Here, we expand on aspects of successful eDNA survey integration, including pilot studies, field collection, assay selection and development, and results interpretation.
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