Amphibians, such as Great crested newts (GCN), shed cellular material, containing DNA, which can persist in aquatic environments for between 7-21 days. Water samples can therefore be tested for eDNA to provide a cost effective alternative to traditional survey methods (bottle trapping, torching, netting and egg searching) when establishing GCN presence / absence.
A survey for eDNA involves a single site visit to collect 20 water samples from around the margin of a waterbody. The samples are then combined so that a full DNA picture of the waterbody is provided. From this mixture the final samples are collected and analysed.
eDNA testing means that presence / absence can now be established by a one-off visit to collect water samples. This could negate the need for multiple survey visits. However, eDNA is unable to currently provide population data. In the event that GCN are recorded, then traditional survey methods would need to be deployed to determine population size to inform mitigation proposals / obtain European Protected Species licences.
One option may be to initiate traditional GCN surveys and combine the visit with eDNA testing. Should a negative result be obtained, the remaining surveys would not be necessary. If there is a positive result, the remaining surveys can be carried out.
For further details please contact Steve on 01225 876990.