DTL partner BaseClear contributes to knowledge of biodiversity and water assessment together with KWR Watercycle Research Institute, Naturalis Biodiversity Center, University of Applied Sciences Leiden, Stichting EIS and the consultants Royal Haskoning DHV Koeman & Bijkerk. Started almost two years ago, this broad consortium is working within TKI Water Technology to develop and make available DNA techniques for the monitoring of biodiversity. The project brings together DNA and field expertise, with the ultimate objective of enabling the application of the technique for the fulfilment of water management monitoring requirements.
“Thanks to DNA techniques we can determine, in a routine and reliable manner, the species that are present in water samples. We make our collection and knowledge available for purposes of water management, and together give a strong impulse to water quality diagnostics,” says Berry van der Hoorn, programme leader of Nature in the Netherlands at Naturalis.
The project involves the elaboration of two DNA methods. On the one hand, work is being done on a method which homogenises and analyses water samples for all the DNA they contain, and thus demonstrates the presence of the associated species (metabarcoding and bulk samples). On the other hand, work is also being done on the specific detection of difficult-to-trace or rare organisms. This is accomplished through the use of environmental DNA (eDNA) techniques, in which the traces left by animals and plants in the environment betray their presence. The initial tests using eDNA methods have been positive.