Environmental DNA

Environmental DNA - Focus on aquatic plants

The AquDNA project aims to develop an innovative method of inventorying aquatic plants and wetlands based on the study of their environmental DNA (eDNA) captured in water. Aquatic plants are the keystone of hydrosystems, as habitats, resources and regulators of these ecosystems. Aquatic plants are used as bio-indicators to assess the good ecological status of hydrosystems according to the Water Framework Directive. However, the detection and identification of these species are often difficult, especially due to the constraints of aquatic environments (e.g. depth, current, floods and droughts). For these reasons, the detection and inventory of these species must be improved and standardized, which we want to achieve using eDNA-based methods. This eDNA corresponds to the set of DNA fragments released during the degradation of organisms. By water filtration, PCR amplification and sequencing, we can identify the species from which this eDNA originates. The objectives of this project are (i) to evaluate the reliability of an eDNA method for the description of plant communities in these environments; (ii) to develop a database of reference barcodes providing information on more than 1,000 plant species, the most common, but also those threatened or potentially invasive of these environments; (iii) to test different methods and parameters in molecular biology to improve this method, and different applications in biodiversity conservation, ecological diagnosis and bio-indication. Our experimental fields to date are the small rivers at the head of the basin of the Northern Vosges, as well as the Upper Rhine at Fessenheim.



Armando Espinosa prieto - AquDNA - Environmental DNA as a descriptor of aquatic plants and environmental indicator - (16/11/2020)



Funding: OHM Fessenheim, Agence de l’Eau Rhin-Meuse, IdEx Université de Strasbourg



Pr. Jean-Nicolas Beisel, PR ENGEES, biology & freshwater science (resp.) -  jean-nicolas.beisel[at]engees.unistra.fr

Laurent Hardion, MCF UNISTRA, Faculté. des Sciences de la Vie, urban ecology and genetics -  laurent.hardion[at]live-cnrs.unistra.fr