Bio-Monitoring of species of conservation and management concern in Australia using eDNA techniques CBD seminar by Dr Cecilia Villacorta Rath
Capture and analysis of environmental DNA (eDNA), or the DNA shed by organisms living in a given ecosystem, is an innovative technique that is revolutionizing aquatic monitoring and field surveys. It is a sensitive method that can detect the presence of a wide range of species without actually requiring physical capture, or sighting of the organisms themselves. This tool offers the potential for research and monitoring programs to be conducted rapidly, at lower cost and across a large array of locations. It can also involve the participation of non-specialists in sample collection, allowing the engagement of the community, as well as indigenous and industry groups. In this talk I will give a brief overview of the eDNA technique for bio monitoring and present some of the case studies being carried out at TropWATER to detect species of management concern in northern Australia.
Cecilia Villacorta Rath is a postdoctoral researcher at the Centre for Tropical Water and Aquatic Ecosystem Research (TropWATER), James Cook University, leading TropWATER's Northern Australia eDNA Program. She has previously worked in a wide variety of research topics, ranging from larval fish and seagrass ecology to invertebrate population genomics. She is passionate about using genetic tools towards the sustainable management of freshwater and marine resources. Cecilia is currently using the eDNA technique to monitor species of management concern in northern Australia in collaboration with traditional owners, government agencies and city councils. Her work involves using the eDNA technique to monitor the efficiency of eradication programs, detect early incursions of pest species and detect presence of threatened species.