Natural England commission a range of reports from external contractors to provide evidence and advice to assist us in delivering our duties. The views in this
report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of Natural England.
DNA based applications have the potential to significantly change how we monitor biodiversity and which species and taxa we monitor. These
techniques may provide cheaper alternatives to existing species monitoring, an ability to detect species that we do not currently monitor
effectively and the potential to develop new measures of habitat and ecosystem quality. Natural England has been supporting the
development of DNA techniques for a number of years. The use of environmental DNA (eDNA) todetermine the presence or absence of great
crested newts in ponds is now a standard tool for developers and consultants.
Samples of water from which eDNA can be extracted and used for monitoring are usually collected manually, which limits the volume of
water that can be filtered, however this study trials the novel use of a programmable large volume eDNA filtration system which is deployed on the
seabed. The collection of water over a tidal cycle increases the likelihood of the detection of species using eDNA, and this study was intended as a
proof-of-concept to determine if the method could be used to monitor inshore fish communities, which are traditionally both expensive and
challenging to monitor accurately