Environmental DNA (eDNA) and Metabarcoding: A Transformational Approach to Biodiversity Monitoring
All living organisms shed DNA into their environment, and these traces of DNA can now be profiled using next-generation sequencing. Thanks to a colossal effort around the world to sequence the molecular markers (e.g. DNA barcodes) of hundreds of thousands of eukaryotic species, we now have databases that allow us to match eDNA to its sources. By using the massive capacity of high-throughput sequencers, we can now survey the presence and dynamics of shifts in biodiversity in different environments and monitor it over time.
Existing methods for environmental surveys are costly and time consuming, often relying on invasive or destructive sampling methods, and specialist expertise from taxonomists to correctly identify species. Metabarcoding promises to be a complementary alternative that will enable researchers, governments, and industry to gain more comprehensive insights into changes in biodiversity, and make more informed choices around conservation, environmental impact assessment, water quality monitoring, biosecurity, and more.
This webinar will review recent research and validation experiments demonstrating the power of metabarcoding for a range of potential applications, including the following topics:
- Biodiversity markers and DNA barcoding
- Metabarcoding and environmental DNA
- Sample types and sampling regimes
- Next-generation sequencing approaches for eDNA metabarcoding
- Bioinformatics for taxonomic assignment and validation
- Experimental design aspects from sample to data analysis and interpretation
- Freshwater metabarcoding for water quality assessment
- Soil metabarcoding for ecological surveys
- Comprehensive biodiversity assessment in seawater using ultra-deep metabarcoding
About the Hosts
Andrew Han, M.A. Journalism
Andrew Han is a science journalist covering everything from astronomy, genetics and genomics to physics, historical science and the intersections of culture and science. Among Han’s writing contributions are pieces in Popular Mechanics, Science Friday, Newsweek, Talking Points Memo and Food and Wine’s FWX blog. He is currently working as an editor at GenomeWeb LLC.