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Prospects and challenges of environmental DNA (eDNA) monitoring in freshwater ponds

Harper, Lynsey R.; Buxton, Andrew S.; Rees, Helen C.; Bruce, Kat; Brys, Rein; Halfmaerten, David; Read, Daniel S.; Watson, Hayley V.; Sayer, Carl D.; Jones, Eleanor P.; Priestley, Victoria; Mächler, Elvira; Múrria, Cesc; Garcés-Pastor, Sandra; Medupin, Cecilia; Burgess, Katherine; Benson, Gillian; Boonham, Neil; Griffiths, Richard A.; Lawson Handley, Lori; Hänfling, Bernd


Lynsey R. Harper

Andrew S. Buxton

Helen C. Rees

Kat Bruce

Rein Brys

David Halfmaerten

Daniel S. Read

Hayley V. Watson

Carl D. Sayer

Eleanor P. Jones

Victoria Priestley

Elvira Mächler

Cesc Múrria

Sandra Garcés-Pastor

Cecilia Medupin

Katherine Burgess

Gillian Benson

Neil Boonham

Richard A. Griffiths

Bernd Hänfling


© 2018, The Author(s). Environmental DNA (eDNA) analysis is a rapid, non-invasive, cost-efficient biodiversity monitoring tool with enormous potential to inform aquatic conservation and management. Development is ongoing, with strong commercial interest, and new uses are continually being discovered. General applications of eDNA and guidelines for best practice in freshwater systems have been established, but habitat-specific assessments are lacking. Ponds are highly diverse, yet understudied systems that could benefit from eDNA monitoring. However, eDNA applications in ponds and methodological constraints specific to these environments remain unaddressed. Following a stakeholder workshop in 2017, researchers combined knowledge and expertise to review these applications and challenges that must be addressed for the future and consistency of eDNA monitoring in ponds. The greatest challenges for pond eDNA surveys are representative sampling, eDNA capture, and potential PCR inhibition. We provide recommendations for sampling, eDNA capture, inhibition testing, and laboratory practice, which should aid new and ongoing eDNA projects in ponds. If implemented, these recommendations will contribute towards an eventual broad standardisation of eDNA research and practice, with room to tailor workflows for optimal analysis and different applications. Such standardisation will provide more robust, comparable, and ecologically meaningful data to enable effective conservation and management of pond biodiversity.


Harper, L. R., Buxton, A. S., Rees, H. C., Bruce, K., Brys, R., Halfmaerten, D., Read, D. S., Watson, H. V., Sayer, C. D., Jones, E. P., Priestley, V., Mächler, E., Múrria, C., Garcés-Pastor, S., Medupin, C., Burgess, K., Benson, G., Boonham, N., Griffiths, R. A., Lawson Handley, L., & Hänfling, B. (2019). Prospects and challenges of environmental DNA (eDNA) monitoring in freshwater ponds. Hydrobiologia, 826(1), 25-41.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 24, 2018
Online Publication Date Sep 3, 2018
Publication Date 2019-01
Deposit Date Oct 4, 2018
Publicly Available Date Oct 4, 2018
Journal Hydrobiologia
Print ISSN 0018-8158
Publisher Springer Verlag
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 826
Issue 1
Pages 25-41
Keywords Aquatic; Biodiversity; Lentic; Metabarcoding; Quantitative PCR; Survey
Public URL
Publisher URL
Contract Date Oct 4, 2018


Article (859 Kb)

Copyright Statement
© The Author(s) 2018
Open Access
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

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