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Cafe Scientifique: Environmental DNA for Biodiversity, Biosecurity, and Monster Hunting

Environmental DNA, or eDNA, is a smorgasbord of organic materials left behind by living things as they pass through their environment. This trace material is increasingly being used to make sense of previously hard to study species, communities and ecosystems on land, in the air, and in the water. In marine systems we are testing the power of eDNA approaches for rapid and accurate assessments of biodiversity and ecosystem health - key enablers of ecosystem-based management. While recent studies, including our own, have shown the potential of eDNA to detect even rare, highly mobile, marine organisms, questions remain about the spatial and temporal resolution of marine eDNA. We have explored these questions in a number of marine settings around New Zealand and find extraordinary spatial resolution in our eDNA work. Temporal effects also appear to be surprisingly modest. Professor Gemmell will discuss the findings in the context of future plans to monitor aquatic systems for fisheries, conservation, biosecurity, and other purposes including the occasional monster hunt.

No bookings necessary


Neil Gemmell (University of Otago)



Auckland Museum Institute


Horse & Trap, Mt Eden

6:30pm Wed 26 June, 2019 - 11:59pm Wed 26 June, 2019