Water managers and site managers want to know whether harmful or protected fish and amphibians are living in their rivers, ditches or ponds. However, catching them with a landing net or electrical apparatus not only disrupts animal life and habitat, it is also time-consuming.
To solve this problem, Wageningen scientists are developing tests to identify the DNA of animals in water samples. The DNA is contained in the faeces, mucus cells or skin cells in the samples. This ‘eDNA’ method is low-cost and environmentally friendly, and it accurately detects protected species such as the common spadefoot and loach or unwanted species such as the round goby. As a result, Wageningen UR is improving the quality of life.