Our eDNA (environmental DNA) lab is finally up and running. We are now investigating if and how eDNA metabarcoding can be used to assess the impacts of multiple stressors on New Zealand’s stream biodiversity.
We spent another day at the rivers Ruhr and Möhne to sample eDNA. Check out the video to see how we take samples and go for a drift dive in the Möhne!
We just published a short article in the Barcode Bulletin.
In the march issue (pages 10-12), Florian and Jan write about how different cryptic Deleatidium mayfly species from New Zealand show strongly different responses to anthropogenic stressors in the stream and the cosequences this has for ecosystem assessments.
We are starting a new project:
Gunnar Jacobs (who is also working for Emschergenossenschaft, the local water board) starts his PhD thesis. He will investigate the occurrence, distribution and dispersal ability of the “Emscher sculpin” (Cottus cf. rhenanus) in the river Emscher and its tributaries.
The Emscher sculpin is a fish which survived the major industrial pollution of rivers in the Emscher catchment during the last 100 years in the upper reaches of a few streams. Specimens from these relic populations are now used to repopulate ecologically restored streams and rivers in the region.
Gunnar will use eDNA (environmental DNA) to study the occurrence and distribution of the Emscher sculpin and how fast it can disperse and repopulate streams after the reintroduction. Using eDNA means that that Gunnar will filter water from the stream and analyze the sculpin DNA in it, which also means that he does not need to catch the fishes. Gunnar’s work will greatly help to understand the Emscher sculpin and the Emscher ecosystem and to subsequently make protection of the ecosystem easier.
Welcome, Gunnar! We are looking forward to the exciting project!
Together with colleagues from the University of Tehran, we just published a paper on the diversity of amphipods in the highly endangered Irano-Anatolian and Caucasus biodiversity hotspots. So far, only five morphospecies had been known from the streams and rivers of these regions. By using molecular techniques, we could identify 42 mostly unknown species, showing that also the scarcely studied freshwater ecosystems of the region harbour a great biodiversity and deserve protection.
Florian was recently interviewed by Radio Leonardo. He talked about how new molecular tools can help to revolutionize and improve ecological water quality assessment of streams and rivers.
Link to the interview (podcast 25.02.2015, Florian’s part starts at minute 25):