Roadmap to an effective application of innovative eDNA techniques in environmental monitoring

An increased number of economic activities is taking place in the North Sea, with potential impacts on the ecosystem among which a shift in species composition and biodiversity. These changes can be measured using innovative techniques such as environmental DNA (eDNA). To be able to apply this technique for a variety of purposes, elaborated protocols need to be developed.

New developments in the North Sea ask for innovative techniques to effectively assess the potential impacts of these activities, such as changes in biodiversity. Genetic methods using environmental DNA (eDNA) appear to be highly suitable for this purpose and are currently already applied within research projects. However, for a wider use and for environmental monitoring specific choices are still needed to refine the methods for each specific application and detailed protocols are required.

This project aims at delivering a decision tree for the selection of the optimal eDNA method for the most important forms of application. This is accompanied with detailed protocols for conducting the selected eDNA method. This enables a wide application of these innovative techniques for environmental monitoring both within WUR as well as for other relevant stakeholders.