Better understand biodiversity to better protect it
To protect biodiversity, it is necessary to know it well, thanks to reliable and comparative data.
We need rigorous, powerful, robust scientific tools to measure and assess the evolution of biodiversity. The use of environmental DNA as a tool for species detection and biodiversity monitoring meets these needs.
What is environmental DNA?
Environmental DNA (eDNA) is an innovative technology that makes it possible to identify biodiversity, thanks to genetic fragments left in the environment.
These fragments can be hair, bodily fluids, faeces or any other element from living organisms.
eDNA, a proven technology
Environmental DNA has been tested since the 2010s on different media. Today, this innovative technology has demonstrated its effectiveness. It allows an analysis of a wide and fine range of species present in an environment without intrusive or aggressive methods such as, for example, electric fishing for sampling fish.
The Compagnie Nationale du Rhône (CNR) carried out the inventory of the fauna of the Rhône using eDNA in 2016, from the Swiss border to the Mediterranean.
The results were surprising.
eDNA, a revolution for the detection of invasive alien species
In addition to the interest of identifying the species naturally present in a territory, eDNA makes it possible to detect invasive species, sometimes early.
eDNA is an excellent tool for obtaining a broad spectrum list of the species present and then involving experts depending on the case.
It is a state-of-the-art and innovative tool that supports human approaches and expertise in the field.
Biodiversity monitoring made easy with eDNA
eDNA makes it possible to provide monitoring of the state of biodiversity in an area. Based on the DNA database of species, eDNA can provide a list of species present. This list takes into account known species, but also new species that could return to their natural environment or migrate due to global warming, as well as potential invasive and harmful species.
This tool also makes it possible to demonstrate the efficiency of mandatory compensatory measures.
The cost of an environmental DNA analysis
An environmental DNA analysis requires an estimate subject to the characteristics of the land and the number of species to be identified.
Carrying out an inventory of the biodiversity of an ecosystem requires less personnel, less equipment and therefore less cost. All it takes is a small team provided with the equipment necessary for sampling to operate, unlike the numbers required to set up a classic census of species. The time factor is not to be neglected either: collecting eDNA is a task that is carried out quickly, and this in most weather conditions.
In a real revolution for the study of biodiversity, environmental DNA can be used in various contexts: from the inventory of biodiversity ( Atlas of Biodiversity for example) to the evaluation of the ecological resource of a course water, through the detection of invasive alien species, or even impact studies ...
Do not hesitate to contact us for more information.
You can also consult the blog post dedicated to the environmental DNA.