Environmental DNA, or eDNA, is the genetic material that organisms release into their environment. Scientists are increasingly interested in collecting and analyzing this eDNA to gain insights into the species that exist in a particular ecosystem.
By studying eDNA, scientists can better understand the biodiversity of an area. They can identify which species are present, including those that may be rare or elusive. This information can be used to inform conservation efforts and help protect vulnerable populations.
One of the advantages of using eDNA is that it is a non-invasive method of monitoring biodiversity. It can be as simple as collecting water or soil samples from a particular environment. This makes it a useful tool for studying ecosystems that are difficult to access or where traditional survey methods may be impractical.
The use of eDNA is not limited to ecology and conservation; it has also found applications in fisheries management and disease control. As technology continues to advance, scientists are finding new and innovative ways to collect and analyze eDNA, unlocking its potential as a valuable tool for understanding and conserving the natural world.