DNA techniques hold particular promise in freshwater monitoring and several national scale pond monitoring schemes are now collecting DNA samples. Notably, the district level licensing (DLL) scheme collects DNA samples to test for the presence of the protected Triturus cristatus (great crested newt). We now wish to re-visit samples collected from large scale monitoring projects and determine whether these can be re-analysed to provide more information about the condition and function of ponds across the country. Our ultimate aim is to develop novel metrics for assessing pond ecological condition, which are based on DNA data.
This project was commissioned to determine whether relatively new DNA sequencing methods can be used to provide more information from archived DLL samples. The sequencing techniques employed here were unsuccessful in generating wider biodiversity information from archived DLL samples. This is likely due to the low DNA concentrations and high levels of impurities in these samples. The results of this project will be used to inform the approach taken and methods used for a broader, collaborative project which will use DNA data to derive a new metric for pond condition. This report also offers recommendations for the collection of freshwater DNA samples to increase their suitability for further analysis in future.