Symposium 2019: Advances in eDNA-based Approaches to Fish Ecology and Management. University of Hull, UK, 15-19 July 2019
Over the last ten years the use of environmental DNA (eDNA) has become one of the most promising new approaches to obtain biodiversity data in aquatic environments, especially for fish. The technologies which underpin eDNA research evolve constantly, leading to a rapidly increasing quality and quantity of data. This has opened up exciting new opportunities for applied and fundamental research alike, but also challenges in terms of data analysis and interpretation. eDNA methods are rapidly penetrating biomonitoring for management purposes and increasing our understanding of ecological interactions within communities and of the drivers for biodiversity decline. Sessions on eDNA have become a regular feature of fisheries and ecological conferences but to date there has been no dedicated conference for eDNA research.
This symposium will, for the first time, bring together the international community of fish eDNA research and provide an overview of the field. We are adopting a broad definition of eDNA to include DNA which has not been sampled directly from the targeted organism, including DNA extracted from water and sediment as well as from faecal and gut samples. Topics will range from the development of methods to addressing fundamental ecological questions, as well as applied aspects of biodiversity monitoring and include:
- Fisheries and conservation issues in freshwater and marine fish communities
- Monitoring and predicting the spread and impact of invasive fish
- Molecular food webs and trophic interactions
- Fish pathogen and parasite detection
- The dynamics and ecology of fish eDNA in the environment
- Methodological advances, incl. metagenomics, population level analysis, new technologies
- eDNA based monitoring and translation into policies
Confirmed Keynote Speakers
Christopher Jerde grew up fishing and camping among the prairie pothole lakes of South Dakota, USA. He competed his BSc (1998) and MSc (2002) at Montana State University surrounded by open spaces and wild trout. While Montana cultivated a keen interest in general ecology, his experiences studying bison population dynamics motivated him to build a broader quantitative background and he migrated north to the Centre for Mathematical Biology at the University of Alberta, Canada where he completed his PhD (2008).
As a Postdoctoral Fellow and Research Assistant Professor at the University of Notre Dame, USA, Chris led the development of an environmental DNA surveillance program for invasive fish, most notably bighead, silver, grass and black carp. Now at the University of California, Santa Barbara, USA, his research program emphasizes using novel quantitative, field, and laboratory approaches and technology to address pressing environmental problems related to measuring fish biodiversity.
Elise Furlan is a Lead Researcher within the R&D group EcoDNA at the Institute for Applied Ecology, University of Canberra, Australia. Her research focuses on molecular genetic techniques to address a variety of ecological questions, and consequently she became one of the first researchers in Australia to develop techniques to analyse environmental DNA (eDNA).
She was also instrumental in constructing the purpose-built eDNA facilities at the University of Canberra to ensure high quality control in the handling of trace DNA samples. One of her key achievements has been the development of a framework for quantifying eDNA detection sensitivity as a crucial step in quality assurance for eDNA studies. More recently, she has been expanding eDNA approaches to include metabarcoding for the detection of multiple species within a sample and has applied this to determine the diet composition of various species from scat or stomach contents and to characterize biological communities from water samples. Her main objective is to ensure her research results in applied outcomes for conservation, therefore partnerships with government agencies and industry feature heavily in her projects.
Alice Valentini has a PhD in molecular ecology from Université Joseph Fourier, Grenoble, France and Università degli Studi della Tuscia, Viterbo Italy). Her research interests focus on the use of environmental DNA (eDNA) for biodiversity assessment. Since 2005, she has contributed to establishing new techniques for eDNA analysis and to the development of biodiversity monitoring approaches based on eDNA.
In 2011 she co-founded SPYGEN, a French biotechnology company specializing in the inventory of aquatic and terrestrial biodiversity via eDNA. At SPYGEN she is a Research Officer specialized in the use of new sequencing technologies and bioinformatics tools. She is also responsible for the implementation and follow-up of eDNA research projects. She is author or co-author of 31 eDNA publications in peer-reviewed journals.
Kristy Deiner currently holds an appointment as a Scientific Associate at The Natural History Museum in London, UK. Central to her research is understanding the causes of biodiversity loss for ecosystem functioning, with a specific focus on freshwater ecosystems. She has broad experience in the field of molecular ecology (e.g., population genetics, phylogeography and systematics) as well as community ecology.
Recently, she been developing methods for using environmental DNA (eDNA) to track aquatic biodiversity. Her seminal work on transport of environmental DNA in rivers has accumulated in the hypothesis that rivers are conveyer belts of biodiversity information in the form of eDNA.
Michael Traugott is an Associate Professor at the Department of Ecology at the University of Innsbruck, Austria, where he leads the Applied and Trophic Ecology Laboratory. His research aims at improving the understanding of ecosystem functioning and to practically implement this knowledge to managing ecosystems more sustainably.
Over the past 20 years Michael has been focusing on the DNA-based analysis of food web interactions as these provide a strong functional means to understand how species respond to changes in their environment and how they affect each other directly and/or indirectly. The technological skills in detecting trace-amounts of DNA in environmental samples have also been implemented to monitor a wide range of species via environmental DNA (eDNA) in both terrestrial and aquatic habitats. Currently, his group merges different high-throughput molecular approaches to obtain a holistic assessment of communities and their ecological interactions in space and time. In 2018 he founded with two of his senior team members the spin-off company SINSOMA which is a one-stop-shop for effective environmental surveys using DNA technology.
Didier Pont, former Scientific Director of Research at CNRS and IRSTEA, France, is now a Visiting Scientist at the Institute for Hydrobiology and Management of Aquatic Ecosystems of BOKU University in Vienna, Austria. He is a limnologist mainly involved in rivers and his main areas of research are fish-habitat relationships (from streams to large rivers), the influence of local vs regional environmental variables on the large-scale distribution of present and past river fish species, and the development of fish-based bioassessment methods at the national and European levels.
He has participated in successive European-scale EU (European Union) research projects aimed at studying the impact of human activities on fish communities and was responsible for the intercalibration of fish-based river assessment methods as a component of the implementation of the EU Water Framework Directive. He has now been involved for five years in the development of fish methods based on environmental DNA (eDNA) and their potential for future research in river ecology. He is author or co-author of more than 100 publications in peer-reviewed journals.
Masaki Miya is Head of the Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences at the Natural History Museum and Institute in Chiba, Japan. His initial research was focused on reconstruction of the evolutionary history of fishes that has shaped the present-day diversity of >34,000 species through geographic space and geological time. More recently, his research focus has changed to ecological aspects of fish diversity and he has developed a novel high-throughput multispecies identification system termed ‘metabarcoding’ which uses environmental DNA (eDNA).
He has also designed universal PCR primers (MiFish primers) that are essential for metabarcoding eDNA from a diverse range of fishes. The new metabarcoding platform has the potential to serve as an alternative tool for biodiversity monitoring that revolutionizes natural resource management and ecological studies of fish communities on larger spatial and temporal scales. He has published 155 peer-reviewed papers which have been cited 10,913 times as of 16 March 2019.
The conference will be held on the University of Hull campus within the Canham Turner Venue.
Please note that the full programme is currently being developed.
We welcome contributions for oral or poster presentations on the topic of “Advances in eDNA-based Approaches to Fish Ecology and Management”. Please take account of the symposium sub-themes when submitting your abstract. Potential contributors should submit abstracts for oral, poster presentation or 3 minute speed-talk following the template shown below. The scientific steering committee will review all […]Read More
Scientific Advisory Committee:
Bernd Hänfling (UK, Convenor)
Lori Lawson Handley (UK, Co-Convenor)
Stefano Mariani (UK)
Kerry Walsh (UK)
Neil Gemmell (NZ)
Jens Carlsson (IRE)
Florian Leese (GER)
Ian Winfield (UK)
Sarah Helyar (UK)
Local Organising Committee:
Lori Lawson Handley
Cristina Di Muri