Por Mauro Rebelo

Benefits of using Environmental DNA for Species Identification

  • Provide a tool to evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of the restocking method
  • Evaluate the cost-benefit of the resources spent
  • Generate data for dialogue with the environmental agency
  • Increasing knowledge of the genetics of endemic fish species
  • Expand knowledge of the reservoir’s biological diversity
  • Providing information on cyanobacterial blooms and organisms of phytopathogenic interest to help improve the use of the reservoir for aquaculture and tourism activities
  • Visualization of complex biodiversity data in a synthesized way

Other benefits of the environmental DNA methodology:

  • High speed: Analysis of each sample in up to 15 days allows real-time assessment of changes in the environment using its most integral and important parameter: biodiversity;
  • Automation and scaling for analysis of one or thousands of samples;
  • High confidence: the specificity and precision of DNA reduces the error rate of traditional taxonomy and resolves the ambiguities of morphological methods;
  • Robustness: the large volume of data reduces uncertainty in statistical analysis;
  • Differentiation of literally ALL species present in the sample. DNA sequences with no matches in the databases are catalogued as Operational Taxonomic Units and, stored and identified by taxonomists, can be reanalyzed in the future;
  • Analysis of biodiversity profiles of risk and priority areas for conservation and preservation, using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) tools and big data to generate georeferenced maps of correspondence, sensitivity and visualization of different parameters;
  • Assessing biodiversity by analyzing current and old samples stored in ice, alcohol or formaldehyde, which is virtually impossible using traditional methods;
  • Documentation of biodiversity: inclusion of molecular markers of organisms from collections in databases;
  • Freeing up taxonomists to do what is their exclusive responsibility: identify new species.