Development of a detection probability framework

Environmental DNA (eDNA) is increasingly used as a survey tool to infer species distributions. eDNA has advantages over traditional detection tools as it is non-invasive, samples are often easy to collect, and it reduces the need for taxonomic expertise. The technique does, however, require careful evaluation of sensitivity.

We have developed a framework to estimate the sensitivity of both the field and laboratory components of this method, and combine them to estimate overall sensitivity. This framework has been applied to species-specific eDNA surveys to estimate the sensitivity, or probability of detection, for three invasive aquatic species in Australia; redfin perch (Perca fluviatilis), carp (Cyprinus carpio), and Oriental weatherloach (Misgurnus anguillicaudatus).

To utilise eDNA as a management tool, the sensitivity of eDNA detection surveys has to be estimated and accounted for. This framework enables researchers to quantify overall sensitivity of a particular eDNA survey method, and to optimise sampling regimes. This ultimately provides the most robust data to inform management actions.

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Project Leader

Dr. Elise Furlan