Invertebrate Services

Breaking down the barriers to large-scale assessment of invertebrate biodiversity

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Expert scientists delivering your data

Insects and other invertebrates are diverse and abundant, providing powerful indicators of habitat type and condition. Their use for ecological assessment was limited by the challenges of morphological taxonomy, which is slow, life-stage dependent, and subject to significant observer biases.

DNA metabarcoding overcomes the taxonomic impediment of morphological identification and generates invertebrate biodiversity data at unprecedented scales by sequencing entire collections in a single analysis.

Contact Nature Metrics about your next aquatic project

Invertebrate Services

The NatureMetrics Invertebrate Metabarcoding service is applicable to terrestrial and aquatic invertebrates. Samples consist of collections of invertebrates gathered using established sampling methods and preserved in an appropriate preservation fluid. Our team of ecologists can help you plan your survey, providing advice on sampling design, collection method and sample preservation.

Freshwater insects can also be surveyed from aquatic eDNA samples, which you can read more about on our eDNA from water service page.

Key Considerations

  • Samples are destroyed during DNA extraction, so make sure to conduct any morphological examinations before sending them to the lab.

  • Some commonly-used collecting and storage fluids may damage DNA or interfere with chemistry of the DNA extraction process, and some (e.g. formalin) should be avoided at all cost. Others are flammable and therefore subject to regulations for the transport of dangerous goods. Our team and we will be happy to advise and help facilitate an appropriate strategy.

  • Metabarcoding cannot yet be used for Water Framework Directive (WFD) monitoring of benthic macroinvertebrates. It is, however, an excellent option for efficiently processing large numbers of samples for projects outside the scope of the WFD. The data is particularly powerful for baseline assessments and tracking the progress of ecological restoration in terrestrial and aquatic habitats.

  • Most (c.75%) UK invertebrates are represented in reference databases allowing us to identify them to species level in metabarcoding data. For species that are not in the reference database, higher level taxonomy is provided. This is usually at genus level.  If there are particular species that you need to be able to identify to species level, then we can check the reference databases in advance and work with you to generate new reference sequences from tissue samples where required.

NatureMetrics:
Behind the Science

Members of our senior team conducted doctoral and postdoctoral research on insect metabarcoding. Read more about how it can be used to monitor ecosystem restoration in our article for the CIEEM In Practice magazine: DNA Metabarcoding of Invertebrates to Evaluate Outcomes of Ecological Restoration.

The information in the report provided by NatureMetrics is in many ways ideal for a site such as this, where we are not expecting the occurrence of any particularly rare or interesting species (which might require specialist search methods) but are more interested in any changes in species composition and abundance. It will be very interesting to see how results compare in following years, with NatureMetrics results allowing us to easily detect changes in the invertebrate communities of the grassland margins of this wind farm.

-Wild Frontier Ecology (WFE)

Environmental DNA

Animals leave traces of DNA in water. This ‘environmental DNA’ can be captured by filtering the water with our custom-designed eDNA sampling kits. The filter is then sent to our laboratory for analysis according to the services you select.

Left with more questions about eDNA?

Visit our info hub for detailed information on our core technologies, scientific publications and webinars.

Visit the Info Hub

Not sure what service suits your project?

For more complex projects you can perform multiple tests on each individual sample, enabling you to build a monitoring programme that suits your exact needs.

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Why NatureMetrics?

Ease of use – Our kits are tried and tested by diverse groups across the world.

The NatureMetrics FieldMate App empowers you to collect and submit your field data on the go.

Our highly specialised team includes 18+ postdoctoral level scientists.

Compliant with all Natural England, UK and EU eDNA requirements, laws and legislations.

DNA samples can be hard to work with – we take the time to troubleshoot difficult samples to ensure you get the best possible results.

Specialist DNA facilities with robust quality control procedures at every stage of the process.

Setting the standard for eDNA monitoring. Find out more about our collaborations and projects in the Info Hub.

Let our expert team help with your next aquatic project

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Contact Nature Metrics about your next aquatic project

We offer a wide range of biodiversity solutions

eDNA from water
Great Crested Newt eDNA
Species from faeces
DNA from soils and sediments
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