Advancing macroinvertebrate biomonitoring!

Check out out new paper in Metabarcoding & Metagenomics: Advancing the use of molecular methods for routine freshwater macroinvertebrate biomonitoring – the need for calibration experiments

This work is an outcome of the DNAqua-net meeting we ran in December. We brought together researchers from all over Europe for a day of intense macroinvertebrate discussions - in this paper we present our ideas, consensus, knowledge gaps and a series of experiments to help move these methods on to practical application! https://doi.org/10.3897/mbmg.3.34735

Thesis - submitted!

After 3 years of hard work and with help/encouragement/advice/support from numerous people - I have handed in my thesis - even the surprise snow shower didn't stop me!

Massive thank you to...

"Thanks firstly goes to my funders: The University of Hull, Environment Agency and the Gilson Le Cren Award from the Freshwater Biological Association.

To my supervisors, thank you for your support, ideas and advice. Lori, your knowledge, enthusiasm and dedication to this project has been a brilliant support and I’m certain without your belief in me I wouldn’t be off on my next big adventure, thank you. Kerry, your encouragement, determination and persistence has made this work possible, I honestly would never have got here without you. Thank you also to my advisory panel; Helen Roy, Dan Read and Alice Hiley for all your encouragement and guidance and to everyone else who has given advice, collected samples with me (rain and shine) and been there through all of it – here’s looking at you Tim and Fran, thanks also to Drew Constable for taking those first official Gammarus fossarum samples!

A special thank you to my lab mates and team “eDNA” over the last 3 years at Hull: Dan, Helen, Christoph, Amir, David, Jo, Lynsey, Graham, Marco, Cristina, Harriet, Peter, Hayley, James, Rob and last but by no means least Dr Paul Nichols of Canada. I am so grateful to have learnt so much from you all and I will look back on our time together and think of the many, many …cakes we have shared.

Thank you also to my friends and family who have supported and encouraged me in everything I’ve done – even the really silly things! A special thanks to my parents for being the perfectly wonderful people you are. And lastly the biggest thank you to Andrew, your support, kind heart and brilliant sense of humour has made this all possible. Special thanks, for keeping all those delirious, sleep deprived ramblings of mine quiet – there literally are “too many words”, but I found them in the end.

Here’s to our next adventure – now let’s go buy that turkey." 

Gammarus fossarum found in the UK using eDNA/DNA metabarcoding

Our new paper is out in Aquatic Invasions, click here to read how we used metabarcoding of DNA and eDNA samples to discover a previously unrecorded Gammaridae in UK rivers. This is one of the first examples of this technique picking up a previously unrecorded taxa and highlights what an important tool eDNA/DNA metabarcoding could be for early detection of new invasive species.

After dinner talk - invert specialist meeting!

This week I attended the Environment Agency (EA) macroinvertebrate specialist workshop, held at Preston Montford, Shropshire. The workshop brings together EA ecologists from all over the country for two days of species level ID and training, this is an integral part of the EA's move to identifying all their macroinvertebrate samples to mixed taxon level (mostly species).

I was invited to talk about the work I've been doing since leaving the EA. It was a great opportunity to discuss the new non-native species we have found using metabarcoding - Gammarus fossarum. I had plenty of questions about the practicalities of sampling eDNA from rivers and a great discussion on the potential applications for invasive species monitoring.

Highlights:

  • Athripsodes cheat sheet - a welcome addition to my identification guides
  • The brilliant feedback from taxonomists - "eDNA is exciting not scary!"