The technological leaps achieved in the past 15 years make it possible to detect, identify and quantify DNA or RNA of target species or even the whole species community from environmental samples. This novel capability extends to water, air, soil, sediment and even diverse samples containing a multitude of trapped organisms such as insects.
These molecular monitoring methods (MoMM) will revolutionize the field of biological and environmental monitoring. They offer highly accurate, repeatabe and cost-efficient species identification to anyone regardless of operator taxonomic expertise and show great potential for automatization.
MoMM have already been implemented in some Finnish national monitoring programs, particularly for individual game species. Further, several pilot projects have been started e.g. in environmental impact monitoring in freshwater systems, marine phytoplankton, fisheries and threatened species monitoring.
At the same time, the field is fragmented, with limited links between different organizations and no national coordination. Knowledge and know-how of the new methods is highly scattered in organizations that conduct monitoring and this currently limits the implementation of MoMM more severely than any technical challenges. Our roadmap seeks to launch a national discussion on and provide actionable recommendations for the coordinated implementation of MoMM in Finland. Moreover, the roadmap emphasizes that actions should not proceed on a national level but stresses the need to take an active role also in ongoing international coordination efforts.
Please sign up to the work shop here: https://link.webropolsurveys.com/S/634A393F2266ECDC
The first complete draft of our Roadmap for implementing environmental DNA (eDNA) and other molecular monitoring methods in Finland is now online and ready for your comments. You can find it here: Roadmap for implementing environmental DNA (eDNA) and other molecular monitoring methods in Finland (PDF)
Please also participate in our survey on the current state and future needs regarding the use of molecular methods in routine monitoring: Survey on the current state and future needs of the use of molecular methods in monitoring
Tiina Laamanen, researcher
+358 295 251 795
Writer: Tiina Laamanen