Vlaanderen.be

Project

eDNA monitoring for \PAS-PPB\

Project: Legally bound

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Participants

Departments, research groups and services

Abstract

The testing and monitoring of target species and communities is crucial for the evaluation and monitoring of the diversity and status of our ecosystems. For this to happen, it is therefore necessary for biodiversity to be accurately estimated or determined and for the presence or absence of target species or harmful species to be assessed correctly. For these purposes, eDNA barcoding or metabarcoding is an extremely promising technology that will ultimately provide very rapid, accurate and useful information in these areas. The high level of sensitivity of these methods allows species to be detected that are difficult to observe and/or quantify with the current methods.
Although this is a very promising technique, there are still numerous shortcomings to be addressed before it can be used in routine monitoring and policy-supporting research. To start with, a reference database needs to be developed, with detailed voucher descriptions, which can serve as a reliable stepping stone for further research. In addition, the barcoding markers that are currently used often do not work well enough for all species in a particular taxonomic group. As a result, it may be difficult or impossible to distinguish between closely related species, and certain species may be impossible to detect, or to detect adequately. Specific barcoding markers therefore need to be developed in an attempt to achieve the highest possible resolution in species detection. Following on from this first part of the project, an investigation will be performed of the impact of sampling and analysis methods, contamination risks and other factors on the final output and detection resolution.
Once these points have been settled, in a second phase the efficiency of both eDNA barcoding and eDNA metabarcoding will be examined and tested on a number of target species (crested newt and bull frog) and fish communities in standing (and in a later phase flowing) waters. In the latter case, research will be conducted in a relatively natural pond complex, and additional experiments will be set up with similar fish communities under strictly controlled conditions. This should enable us to demonstrate the strength but also any weak points in this methodology, and to make any refinements that are required. In these different steps, there will also be close cooperation with other research groups working on this issue, in an effort to share expertise and ensure double-checking for reliability and reproducibility (i.e. ring-testing).
Ultimately, the work described above should lead to the efficient determination of the status of threatened and/or invasive species, and the creation of an inventory of the biodiversity and species composition of various systems (initially fish communities).
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date31/03/1529/06/19
Research outputs
Research output (related by participants)
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