Nieuw project gestart: bioDivErsity estimate for aquatiC ecOsystems aDopting eDNA (DECODE)

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The project DECODE aims at fostering the application of an eDNA-based strategy for the monitoring of biodiversity in aquatic ecosystems. The principal use of such a strategy is the detection of genetic material present in an environment and subsequently decoding it to formulate a list of present taxa in an environmental sample.
Although recent advancements are made in the research areas of microbiology and genetics, field application of eDNA-based strategies are hampered by a lack of information on how the genetic material is spread and transported in water. Here we tackle this issue with a consortium that links expertise in species care (senior aquarist, Diergaarde Blijdorp), genetics (senior scientist, Naturalis Biodiversity Center), environmental science (senior scientists, Leiden University and Radboud University), and hydraulic transport (senior scientist, Delft University of Technology).
The project foresees (a) the use of a tank located in Diergaarde Blijdorp for evaluating the dispersion of the genetic material in static water conditions and (b) a river field case for evaluating the spreading under fluvial conditions.
The research will assess how genetic material is transported in water and dispersed. d in water. As a result, it will provide insights into highly probable locations where genetic material occurs.
Also, the research will help develop an eDNA sampling strategy, which is expected to contribute to a wider consensus and acceptance of the eDNA strategy application in water management and biomonitoring sectors. The societal benefit is the consolidation of an innovative technology that reduces the time and cost of evaluating the ecosystem status of fluvial systems, and is standardized through a genetic database, and provides quantitative data.

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