Introduction to eDNA

This is a short introduction to environmental DNA, or eDNA.

BiologyConservationTechnology
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Introduction to eDNA

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This is a short introduction to environmental DNA, or eDNA.
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  1. Slide 1

    • Image credit:
    • How do you survey such an elusive species – the hellbender salamander – when you can spend days looking for it in streams without finding any trace of it, yet you can't be sure that it's not lurking underwater, under some slab of rock…
    • Let's take a quiz…
  2. Be a Salamander Sleuth…

    Slide 2 - Be a Salamander Sleuth…

  3. Slide 3

    • Image credit:
  4. eDNA – Environmental DNA

    Slide 4 - eDNA – Environmental DNA

    • When an animal/plant/fungi dies, fragments of its DNA are dispersed into the environment, where they remain for some time – from days (in water) to 10s of thousands of years (in sediments).
  5. Using Environmental DNA for Monitoring

    Slide 5 - Using Environmental DNA for Monitoring

    • Technique: extract DNA "signatures" from eDNA dispersed in the environment.
    • Key benefit: does not require finding individual organisms (or their remains).
  6. The Process…

    Slide 6 - The Process…

    • Image Source: Thomsen, P. F. & Willerslev, E. (2015). Environmental DNA – An emerging tool in conservation for monitoring past and present biodiversity.
    • Biological Conservation, Volume 183, Pages 4–18.
    • PCR – polymerase chain reaction
    • qPCR – quantitative PCR
    • NGS – next generation sequencing
  7. For More Information…

    Slide 7 - For More Information…

    • NY Times online article: Zimmer, C. "Shedding Their Secrets", Jan 22nd, 2015
    • http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/27/science/even-elusive-animals-leave-dna-and-clues-behind.html?hpw&rref=science&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=well-region&region=bottom-well&WT.nav=bottom-well&_r=2
    • Spear, S. F., Groves, J. D., Williams, L. A., & Waits, L. P. (2015).
    • Using environmental DNA methods to improve detectability
    • in a hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis) monitoring program.
    • Biological Conservation. Volume 183, March 2015, Pages 38–45.
  8. For More Information…

    Slide 8 - For More Information…

    • Thomsen, P. F. & Willerslev, E. (2015). Environmental DNA – An emerging tool in conservation for monitoring past and present biodiversity.
    • Biological Conservation, Volume 183, Pages 4–18.
    • Bohmann, K., Evans, A., Gilbert, T. P. , Carvalho, G. R.,
    • Creer, S., Knapp, M., Yu, D. W. & de Bruyn, M. (2014).
    • Environmental DNA for wildlife biology
    • and biodiversity monitoring. Trends in Ecology & Evolution. Vol. 29, No. 6.
  9. For More Information…

    Slide 9 - For More Information…

    • Calvignac-Spencer, S., Merkel, K., Kutzner, N., Kühl, H., Boesch, C., Kappeler, P. M., Metzger, S., Schubert, G., & Leendertz, F.H. (2013).
    • Carrion fly-derived DNA as a tool for comprehensive
    • and cost-effective assessment of mammalian biodiversity. Molecular Ecology. Volume 22, 915–924.
    • BBC online article: Davies, E. How to track an 'invisible' animal.
    • http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/21320626