This project develops a new DNA method that could revolutionise the way we monitor fish in lakes. It has been shown to detect 14 of 16 key fish species known to be present in Lake Windermere, compared to just four species found by conventional surveys.
The approach uses environmental DNA (eDNA) - the DNA that fish leave behind in the water from their skin, urine or faeces. This eDNA can be used to give us information on fish living in the lake. New technology allows all the DNA in a water sample to be sequenced and identified. This multi species identification method is rapid and sensitive and has real potential to change the way we carry out our ecological assessments.
The work is part of a wider programme of research by UK agencies to develop DNA based methods for environmental monitoring and decision making.