ArcticNet - ArcticNet Research

Phase 4 (2015-2018)

Monitoring Marine Biodiversity with eDNA; a New Cost-Effective Method to Track Rapid Arctic Changes

Project Leader(s)

Bernatchez, Louis

Marine biodiversity monitoring typically requires expensive sampling tools, multiple experts and may cause significant negative impacts on the ecosystem. The analysis of environmental DNA (eDNA) could be a revolutionary tool to overcome the lack of large-scale standardized biodiversity monitoring. The eDNA method, a novel sampling approach for macro-organisms, detects traces of DNA (i.e., genetic material) in water. This new sophisticated method has the power to identify local species from only a few liters of water, however it has mainly been used in freshwater systems in the south. This project therefore aims to optimize the eDNA method for Arctic marine ecosystems to aid in rapidly detecting biodiversity shifts and early detection of introductions of invasive or non-native species. By joining an international multidisciplinary network of molecular, invasion and benthic ecologists and policy makers, the Coastal SEES Collaborative Research Network, this project aims to adapt and calibrate the eDNA method for Arctic organisms and monitor Arctic biodiversity in sensitive Arctic areas (i.e. commercial ports). It is the perfect time for integrating molecular monitoring methods for Arctic ecosystems in regards to biotechnology accessibility, biotechnology advances, actual knowledge of marine biodiversity and the access to pristine environments (i.e., before biodiversity shifts have occurred). Contributes to IRIS: 2, 3