Hidden world of stream biodiversity revealed through water sampling for environmental DNA

phys.org | 3/1/2019 | Staff
entengo (Posted by) Level 3
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For the first time, researchers have used a novel genomics-based method to detect the simultaneous presence of hundreds of organisms in a stream.

Scientists at Oregon State University and the U.S. Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station recently published the results of their findings in the journal Environmental DNA.

Study - Collaborators - Material - Assortment - Matter

For the study, the collaborators extracted genetic material from an assortment of physical matter left behind in a stream by a wide range of organisms—from fish to flies—including skin cells and excrement. Using this method, they detected microscopic species as well.

Although they weren't found in this study, this method has the potential to detect potent plant-damaging water molds that are responsible for root and stem rot diseases, and pathogens that cause fungal diseases such as Chytrid fungus, which is killing amphibians all over the world.

Applications - Method - Disease - Species - Species

Some of the key applications for the method include monitoring disease, invasive species, and rare or endangered species, said Tiffany Garcia, an aquatic ecologist in Oregon State's College of Agricultural Sciences and co-author on the study.

"This is like sampling the air in a terrestrial environment and getting airborne cues from all the different species, which is currently impossible. But with water, it's possible," Garcia said.

Method - Alternative - Electrofishing - Water - Fish

The new method could offer an alternative to electrofishing, which sends an electric current through water to temporarily stun fish and has been the chosen method for sampling fish populations in rivers and streams. The new method used by the Oregon State and Forest Service researchers, which used a microfluidic device, has several advantages over electrofishing,...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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