Challenges to Implementing Environmental-DNA Monitoring in Namibia

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  • Iain Perry
    Cardiff University
  • Ifan B. Jams
    Cardiff University
  • Roser Casas-Mulet
    Cardiff University
  • Josefina Hamutoko
    University of Namibia (UNAM), Windhoek
  • Angela Marchbank
    Cardiff University
  • Selma Lendelvo
    University of Namibia (UNAM), Windhoek
  • Erold Naomab
    Namibia University of Science and Technology, Windhoek
  • Benjamin Mapani
    University of Namibia (UNAM), Windhoek
  • Simon Creer
  • Heike Wanke
    University of Namibia (UNAM), Windhoek
  • Isabelle Durance
    Cardiff University
  • Peter Kille
    Cardiff University
By identifying fragments of DNA in the environment, eDNA approaches present a promising tool for monitoring biodiversity in a cost-effective way. This is particularly pertinent for countries where traditional morphological monitoring has been sparse. The first step to realising the potential of eDNA is to develop methodologies that are adapted to local conditions. Here, we test field and laboratory eDNA protocols (aqueous and sediment samples) in a range of semi-arid ecosystems in Namibia. We successfully gathered eDNA data on a broad suite of organisms at multiple trophic levels (including algae, invertebrates and bacteria) but identified two key challenges to the implementation of eDNA methods in the region: 1) high turbidity requires a tailored sampling technique and 2) identification of taxa by eDNA methods is currently constrained by a lack of reference data. We hope this work will guide the deployment of eDNA biomonitoring in the arid ecosystems of Namibia and neighbouring countrie
Original languageEnglish
Article number773991
JournalFrontiers in Environmental Science
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jan 2022

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