Short Virtual Presentation & Digital Poster 10th Australian Stream Management Conference 2021

Innovations in eDNA Sampling Technology: Comparing Manual and Automated Techniques (#67)

Farley Connelly 1 , Andrew Weeks 1
  1. EnviroDNA, Parkville, VIC, Australia

Environmental DNA (eDNA) is a rapidly growing technique used to detect individual or groups of species using DNA fragments in environmental samples, primarily water. Early applications of eDNA typically involved filtering water samples in a laboratory or manually forcing water through a filter in the field. However, new innovative technologies have automated this process. Smith Root Inc. has created automated sampling systems that allow the filtering of large volumes of water with speed and efficiency; opening the door to sampling larger water bodies including lakes, reservoirs and marine systems. These systems have the potential to optimise eDNA sampling; however, the effectiveness of these new pumps compared to manual filtering has yet to be investigated. We compared the effectiveness of both automated and manual techniques to detect the presence of species in water.

We compared eDNA water samples collected by the automated and manual sampling techniques. Samples were analysed for both a single target species and vertebrate biodiversity using qPCR and metabarcoding. 

The automated sampling system was able to pump more water through filters, resulting in higher concentrations of DNA and species detections. This study shows the power of the Smith Root automated system for eDNA species detection. 

The efficiency and sensitivity of eDNA sampling for species detection is critical for the widespread uptake of eDNA methods. Here we contrasted a widely used manual method with a new automated method that simplifies the eDNA sampling approach. Our results highlight the power of the Smith Root system for species detection.  

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