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Health Sciences staff profiles

Clare Adams

PositionPhD student
DepartmentDepartment of Anatomy
QualificationsMSc
Research summaryThe application of environmental DNA (eDNA) for marine monitoring and population genetics

Research

Despite the many benefits of biodiversity, biodiversity at all levels is being lost at an alarming rate. To fully understand biodiversity loss, we need ecological information about species and population variation, composition, and locality.

DNA barcoding was one proposed solution to quickly describe and categorize diversity. The advent of NGS tools extended barcoding to metabarcoding, the ability to analyse many samples at once, including from non-invasively collected environmental samples. From these samples, information about species and population diversity could be genetically obtained.

Another technique, environmental DNA (eDNA), was created to further describe and monitor biodiversity within environmental samples. Advantages of using current eDNA methodology include reduced cost for sensitively capturing species-level biodiversity using non-invasive survey efforts. Within aquatic eDNA, uses for single multispecies and single-species monitoring have emerged. Multispecies monitoring, eDNA metabarcoding, detects many taxa for cataloging biodiversity and monitoring species community composition.

Single-species monitoring sensitively detects invasive and endangered species for potential conservation and management monitoring. However, sampling design and bioinformatics analyses need to be carefully considered as they can have large effects on downstream analysis and results.

Given recent strides in eDNA technology, it is possible obtain eDNA for population genetic diversity. I will use eDNA to describe species and population diversity in this PhD dissertation. My first project will compare marine reserves to fished areas using eDNA metabarcoding techniques. My next project will determine if population genetic diversity can be obtained from a marine mammal, the New Zealand Fur Seal. Through these projects, I will help document genetic biodiversity for future monitoring and conservation efforts.

Additional details

Please contact clare.adams@postgrad.otago.ac.nz for potential collaboration opportunities. She is happy to hear from others implementing eDNA techniques around the globe. https://www.linkedin.com/in/ciadams/

Publications

Adams, C. I. M., Knapp, M., Gemmell, N. J., Jeunen, G.-J., Bunce, M., Lamare, M. D., & Taylor, H. R. (2019). Beyond biodiversity: Can environmental DNA (eDNA) cut it as a population genetics tool? Gene, 10(3), 192. doi: 10.3390/genes10030192

Journal - Research Article

Adams, C. I. M., Knapp, M., Gemmell, N. J., Jeunen, G.-J., Bunce, M., Lamare, M. D., & Taylor, H. R. (2019). Beyond biodiversity: Can environmental DNA (eDNA) cut it as a population genetics tool? Gene, 10(3), 192. doi: 10.3390/genes10030192

More publications...