Investigating the utility of filter feeding organisms in the collection of environmental DNA

Project: Research

Project Details


The use of meta-barcoding to sequence environmentally sourced DNA (eDNA) is an emerging tool that enables wildlife managers to obtain ecosystem-wide estimates of biodiversity. However, various limitations remain that limit the application of eDNA to challenging environments, such as wetlands with high concentrations of particulates in the water column. DNA degrades quickly in aquatic environments and large quantities of water may be required to be able to detect rare species, which may not be possible for water samples that clog filter membranes. While modified sampling and DNA extraction methods improve the ability to filter large quantities of challenging water samples, novel approaches using filter-feeding organisms may provide another means of collecting eDNA from the environment. In this study, we aim to determine whether oysters retain eDNA in their filter-feeding tissues or expel eDNA back into the environment. The outcomes of this project will help assess whether native filter-feeders could be used to deploy ‘biological eDNA collectors’ in challenging ecosystems and improve biodiversity estimates from water samples for these environments.
Short titleOyster eDNA Study
Effective start/end date3/05/2131/01/22