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INHS Seminar - Environmental DNA: the final frontier of biodiversity monitoring

Event Type
Illinois Natural History Survey Seminar Committee
1005 Forbes Natural History Building, 1816 S Oak Street, Champaign
Dec 10, 2019   3:30 pm  
Dr. Lynsey Harper, Postdoctoral Researcher, Illinois Natural History Survey
Dr. Mark Davis
Originating Calendar
INHS Events

Environmental DNA (eDNA) analysis is transforming biodiversity monitoring in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems with immense potential to inform their conservation and management. eDNA analysis is rapid, non-invasive, cost-efficient, and often more accurate and sensitive than conventional monitoring tools for single species detection and community survey. Lynsey’s research has focused on ponds as these are diverse yet understudied freshwater habitats that require novel tools to enable comprehensive, systematic, long-term monitoring. Lynsey compared targeted and community eDNA survey (i.e. quantitative PCR and metabarcoding) for single species detection. Using a threatened amphibian as a case study, she evaluated eDNA metabarcoding as a tool for ecological hypothesis generation and testing. She developed an eDNA assay to target a non-native fish that paradoxically receives conservation protection due to the genetic diversity contained in UK populations. She assessed the impact of fish stocking on pond invertebrate diversity using morphotaxonomic identification, bulk tissue DNA metabarcoding, and eDNA metabarcoding. Finally, she evaluated eDNA metabarcoding as a tool for monitoring conservation and management priority mammal species, and examined the spatiotemporal distribution of mammal eDNA in ponds. Lynsey will present the results of this research and touch on the other DNA-based projects that she is involved with. She will highlight ongoing eDNA research at INHS and discuss how eDNA analysis can broaden our ecological horizons.

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