The LifeDNAaquatic project has investigated how eDNA can be used as a tool in Swedish environmental monitoring. During the last decade, DNA-based methods for detecting and identifying species have opened up new possibilities for inventorying biological diversity, where the focus has been on aquatic ecosystems.
The research method is based on the fact that all living organisms, both plants and animals, continuously leave genetic footprints in the environment. Aquatic eDNA are genetic traces that organisms emit into the aquatic environment. This genetic material can be extracted from a water sample and, through molecular analyses, indicate which species are present in a given area without either seeing or catching the organism.
The project group within LifeDNAquatic built on existing knowledge to develop methods for field inventory, treatment and storage of samples from different aquatic environments. Furthermore, field investigations were carried out comparing how different conservation methods and seasons affect the results, which were also compared with conventional sampling methods. The project focused on fish as a taxonomic group.
The project has been financed with funds from the Environmental Protection Agency's environmental research grants, which finance research to support the knowledge needs of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Swedish Maritime and Water Authority
Dr Jessica Sjöstedt, from MoRe has been active in the project, +4670-243 99 98.