A field ecologist’s guide to environmental DNA sampling in freshwater environments

Emily McColl-Gausden, Andrew Weeks, Reid Tingley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Environmental DNA, or eDNA—DNA shed from organisms and extracted from environmental
samples—is an emerging survey technique that has the potential to transform biodiversity monitoring
in freshwater ecosystems. We provide a brief overview of the primary methodological aspects of
eDNA sampling that ecologists should consider before taking environmental samples in the field.
We outline five key methodological considerations: (i) targeting single species vs multiple species; (ii)
where and when to sample; (iii) how much water to collect; (iv) how many samples to take; and
(v) recognising potential sources of false positives. The need to account for false negatives and false
positives in eDNA surveys, and the power of species occupancy detection models in accounting for
imperfect detection, is also discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Article number11
JournalAustralian Zoologist
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2019

Keywords

  • detection
  • eDNA
  • freshwater
  • monitoring
  • occupancy

Cite this

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A field ecologist’s guide to environmental DNA sampling in freshwater environments. / McColl-Gausden, Emily; Weeks, Andrew; Tingley, Reid.

In: Australian Zoologist, 2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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AB - Environmental DNA, or eDNA—DNA shed from organisms and extracted from environmentalsamples—is an emerging survey technique that has the potential to transform biodiversity monitoringin freshwater ecosystems. We provide a brief overview of the primary methodological aspects ofeDNA sampling that ecologists should consider before taking environmental samples in the field.We outline five key methodological considerations: (i) targeting single species vs multiple species; (ii)where and when to sample; (iii) how much water to collect; (iv) how many samples to take; and(v) recognising potential sources of false positives. The need to account for false negatives and falsepositives in eDNA surveys, and the power of species occupancy detection models in accounting forimperfect detection, is also discussed.

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KW - monitoring

KW - occupancy

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