SLU news

New research project about DNA-barcoding in assessment of freshwater biodiversity

Published: 17 December 2018
Rain drops on a water surface. Photo.

DNA-barcoding has the potential to be a cost efficient and accurate tool for assessment of biodiversity, but several aspects of the approach needs to be improved. A new research project at the department aims at establishing DNA-barcoding techniques in operative national monitoring and improve assessment of biodiversity human-induced stress on freshwater ecosystems.

By analyzing DNA in water from a stream or a lake, it is possible to identify species present in the ecosystem, without capturing the actual organisms. DNA-methods can be both more cost-efficient and provide higher taxonomic resolution, and at the same time have a smaller effect on the ecosystem.

Maria Kahlert, Willem Goedkoop and Richard K. Johnson from the department of Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment, together with Jonas Zimmerman from Freie Universität Berlin, Germany, have received funding from the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency and the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management to improve DNA-based techniques for environmental assessment.

FRESHBAR, as the project is called, aims to develop the methods by improving the libraries containing the barcodes – parts of specific genes used to identify species. Furthermore, different molecular techniques will be compared, in order to increase taxonomic resolution.

Read more about the project: FRESHBAR – Barcoding of freshwater organisms for improved assessment of biodiversity