Environmental DNA surveys circumvent the typical challenges of biodiversity surveys, providing a non-invasive, highly efficient data collection method that can be undertaken by non-specialists. These eDNA surveys therefore offer an easy and efficient way for NGOs such as ACCA to unlock crucial biodiversity data in highly diverse tropical ecosystems.
This pilot study used the NatureMetrics aquatic eDNA service with a vertebrate metabarcoding analysis to generate vertebrate biodiversity data in typically understudied waterbodies. The team collected eDNA samples in two oxbow lakes and a blackwater lagoon. These important habitats are often nutrient-rich and provide a fertile environment for nurseries of fish larvae yet remain under-represented in baselining metrics as they can be hard to access.
14 samples were collected across 4 different sites: the oxbow lakes Cocha Lobo & Cocha Gato, the blackwater lagoon Pozo Don Pedro, and in the Los Amigos River.
The primary benefits of using eDNA included: