eDNA Services

Environmental DNA or eDNA has revolutionised how we understand and monitor the natural environment. Cawthron eDNA Services empowers you to make informed decisions about the environment by providing robust advice on everything from sampling to data interpretation and analysis.

Sampling Lakes in the south island high country
  • What is eDNA?

    Various organisms such as animals, plants, bacteria, and algae leave traces of their DNA in the surrounding environment. This occurs through processes like shedding of skin, urination, or decomposition when they pass away. 

    Our team of scientists can extract this DNA from environmental samples like sediment or water. Our laboratories have sophisticated equipment that can either help us identify the specific species from which the DNA originated or analyse the entire community present in each sample.  

    Scientist talking to kids about fish
  • Why use eDNA?

    eDNA can be faster and easier than traditional monitoring methods, enabling us to survey a larger number of environments, including those that have previously been inaccessible. It can assist us in detecting threats, locating, and quantifying the presence of species, and assessing the health of ecosystems. 

    But eDNA isn't a one size fits all solution, it has limitations. Sometimes eDNA is just one part of the puzzle and not every problem will be solved with an eDNA solution.  This is why consultation is so important and why Cawthron researchers work closely with clients to discover their needs and develop a customised approach.

    Case Studies and Articles:

    • Tun (eels) underwater

      eDNA for Shortfin and Longfin Eel

      As part of the national programme Lakes380 co led by Cawthron and GNS Science, researchers have developed a new environmental DNA-based tool to detect tuna (shortfin and longfin eel) in Aotearoa New Zealand’s lakes and rivers.

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    • Southern eDNA society group photo

      Southern eDNA Society

      Cawthron scientists are helping to establish a formal Southern eDNA Society that aims to promote collaboration across science and industry throughout Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia. The Society would work to advance best practice eDNA methods and encourage adoption from government, industry and community sectors.

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    • Konstanz with fresh water mussels in stream

      eDNA for Specific Species

      Using eDNA to detect and protect taonga freshwater species in Aotearoa by Konstanze Steiner and Georgia Thomson-Laing

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