Freshwater fish provide food for billions and livelihoods for millions, of which 55% are women.
“I have spent the last 20 years collating information to determine which freshwater species are threatened and where they are found. This information is used to assess species extinction risk for the IUCN Red List of Threatened SpeciesTM. Through this work I have found that information on species locations is often lacking or is totally outdated. Use of eDNA to rapidly, easily and cheaply detect presence of species in freshwaters around the world represents an absolute gamer changer for filling this knowledge gap. By making this new information widely available to decision makers and researchers through the eBioAtlas we will hugely improve our ability to conserve and restore freshwater species across the world.”
– Will Darwall, Head IUCN Freshwater Biodiversity Unit
The environmental DNA (eDNA) approach uses traces of DNA that species leave behind in the water, is extensively validated and often outperforms conventional survey methods. The simple eDNA sampling approach can be applied globally to generate biodiversity data, with a biobank of residual DNA for future analysis.
BEYOND WILDLIFE DATA
Beyond wildlife data, this approach opens opportunities for risk-maps, indices of ecosystem health, ground truthing of earth observation data and can be extended to the marine environment.