Detecting the presence of Weddell seals and Adelie penguins using on-site analysis of environmental DNA (Funded by New Zealand Antarctic Research Institute)

Status: Current

Dates: 2020 - Start

Māori Relevant Content: No

Project Abstract

Genetic information can be a powerful tool for understanding the biology of Antarctic species, but implementing genetic analyses has proven challenging in Antarctica. Here we propose to use environmental DNA (eDNA), which is obtained from samples of snow, water, or soil rather than directly from organisms, to detect the presence of Antarctic predators. We will develop a protocol to sequence eDNA on-site in Antarctica, and will test the method by sampling tracks left in the snow by Weddell seals and Adelie penguins near Erebus Bay. Our work will enable future research on population connectivity, conservation, and species interactions in Antarctica.

Researchers - UC Staff

Subject Area: Disciplines