ID-Gene Marine benthic monitoringA new genetic tool for rapid and cost-effective assessment of the industrial impacts on marine biodiversity
what is benthic monitoring?
Benthic monitoring is a standard procedure to assess the environmental impact of marine fish farming activities. It consists in analysing changes in benthic community of macro-invertebrates in relation to the organic enrichment associated with farms activities. The macro-invertebrates are classified in ecological categories that define their adaptation to different environmental conditions. The abundance of each species, weighted by their ecological category is used to calculate the biological quality index. There are several indices that have been applied in benthic monitoring of marine aquaculture (AMBI, ITI, NSI, NQI1). The values of these indices determine the ecological status of benthic community and inform about the impact of aquaculture activity on marine biodiversity.
ID-GENE eDNA based marine benthic monitoring applications
ID-Gene Marine Benthic Monitoring test has been developed in collaboration with marine aquaculture industry and consulting companies in Norway, Scotland, Canada and New Zealand. Until now, it has been applied to the bio-assessment of salmon farms. However, it can be easily adapted to other fish farming activities in different geographic areas.
what is the eDNA test?
The environmental DNA (eDNA) test applied to aquatic environment consists in analysing DNA isolated from water or sediment samples in order to determine the composition of species community living in this environment. The DNA can be preserved in aquatic environment either as free molecules or inside the living organisms, their fragments or dispersal bodies. The eDNA test allows identifying species using their unique DNA sequences and determine biotic indices based on species composition and diversity.
how does ID-GENE eDNA test enhance benthic monitoring?
Current benthic monitoring applied to marine aquaculture is based on morphological identification and counting of manually sorted macro-invertebrates. This current approach is time consuming and requires an excellent taxonomic expertise. ID-GENE eDNA test overcomes these limitations by inferring species diversity from DNA sequences using standardized and automatized protocols. The additional advantages of eDNA-based benthic monitoring are that it is more sensitive and accurate, by using wider range of bio-indicators and being less dependent on subjective morphological identification. ID-GENE™ eDNA test allow rapid and cost-effective environmental impact assessment.
how does our eDNA test compare with the conventional morpho-taxonomic approach?
We conducted several studies to establish optimal conditions of eDNA test applied to benthic monitoring of salmon farms. In addition, to macro-invertebrates, we also tested other taxonomic groups of benthic meiofauna and microbiota (foraminifera, ciliates) as potential new bio-indicators. In most of the cases, the analyses of their DNA show very good congruence with macrofauna study. We observed consistent changes in species richness and taxonomic composition of benthic communities, in relation to the environmental conditions. Moreover, for those taxonomic groups that are not assigned to any ecological categories, we calibrated biotic indices using machine learning approach.
what do we offer ?
- Rapid service – Processing time 2-4 weeks for 100 samples
- High quality control
- Competitive prices
- Final report comprising values of selected biotic indices and a list of species for each sample
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ENGLISH – Marine Benthic Monitoring
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