Sampling optimization for molecular biosecurity surveillance – results from an expedition onboard the Robert C. Seamans (SEA, Woods Hole)
Environmental DNA (eDNA) in combination with metabarcoding or real time PCR are promising approaches for marine non-indigenous species (NIS) detection. To maximize detection of rare biodiversity, plankton vertical or horizontal net tows are often used to concentrate eDNA signals over hundreds of liters of volume. The follow-up filtration step of the concentrated sample often becomes a bottleneck in the sample processing pipeline, requiring substantial time and effort. These sample collection and processing steps need to be optimized without affecting the performance of eDNA-based detection for wider end-user uptake and routine implementation for biosecurity surveillance.
We have started to employ modelling approaches to better understand and predict the dispersal of eDNA in the marine environment. Learn about our first field sampling campaign for testing whether the developed model can robustly predict where and when in the tidal cycle eDNA can be detected.