Say you’re a biologist, and you have to figure out what animals live in an area, but you have limited time and budget to work with. Maybe the organism you need to find is small, rare, elusive, or just hard to catch. Maybe the area is simply too big. This problem has bedeviled researchers for generations. But there is a new tool that is becoming ever more reliable, and allows an organism’s presence to be determined simply by analyzing the environment itself: eDNA. Click on the following paragraph to access the full story.
One of the earliest uses of the technology was detecting invasive species. Asian carp have proved quite damaging in the Mississippi river, and biologists have long been concerned about the fish reaching the Great Lakes. Barriers were placed to prevent the fish from moving up the river, but eDNA suggested that the carp had crossed the barrier. Their presence was later confirmed by the capture of a live fish.