DMP for "implementation of eDNA metabarcoding as an innovative tool for biomonitoring fish communities in lotic waters"

Research output: Other contributionData Management Plans


Biomonitoring of fish fauna using environmental DNA methods (eDNA; sampling of shed DNA in water and
detection of fish species via molecular techniques) could serve as a complementary technique to conventional,
invasive, costly and time-consuming methods. Integration of eDNA metabarcoding (investigating the composition
of entire fish communities) into existing regulatory monitoring frameworks, requires further insights and the
development of practical guidelines. Remaining challenges include critical aspects of sampling and quantification
of eDNA in lotic waters, as well as potential technical bias in eDNA detection and abundance quantification, spatial
and temporal shifts in eDNA patterns, and assessments of ecological status. We will investigate the potential of
eDNA methods for quality scoring of ecosystem health in rivers using the European Water Framework Directive
and its implementation in Flanders as a practical starting point. By means of a large-scale sampling campaign,
eDNA sampling will be compared to traditional electrofishing (TEF) to provide insights on spatio-temporal
patterns of eDNA abundance in natural systems. Experimental validation and calibration of absolute measures for
community abundance, optimization of metabarcoding workflow, as well as the transformation of eDNA
metabarcoding measurements into discrete indices for biotic integrity, will bring about practical guidelines on the
use of eDNA metabarcoding as a biomonitoring tool for ecosystem health.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Thematic List 2020

  • Water

Free keywords

  • eDNA

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