Persistence of environmental DNA in marine systems

Collins, RA, Wangensteen Fuentes, OS ORCID:, O'Gorman, EJ, Mariani, S ORCID:, Sims, DW and Genner, MJ 2018, 'Persistence of environmental DNA in marine systems' , Communications Biology, 1 , p. 185.

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As environmental DNA (eDNA) becomes an increasingly valuable resource for marine eco-system monitoring, understanding variation in its persistence across contrasting environments is critical. Here, we quantify the breakdown of macrobial eDNA over a spatio-temporal axis of locally extreme conditions, varying from ocean-influenced offshore to urban-inshore, and between winter and summer. We report that eDNA degrades 1.6 times faster in the inshore environment than the offshore environment, but contrary to expectation we find no difference over season. Analysis of environmental covariables show a spatial gradient of salinity and a temporal gradient of pH, with salinity—or the biotic correlates thereof—most important. Based on our estimated inshore eDNA half-life and naturally occurring eDNA concentrations, we estimate that eDNA may be detected for around 48 h, offering potential to collect ecological community data of high local fidelity. We conclude by placing these results in the context of previously published eDNA decay rates.

Item Type: Article
Schools: Schools > School of Environment and Life Sciences > Ecosystems and Environment Research Centre
Journal or Publication Title: Communications Biology
Publisher: Springer Nature
Related URLs:
Funders: Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
Depositing User: Prof Stefano Mariani
Date Deposited: 09 Nov 2018 14:31
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2022 00:10

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