LOFRESH objectives will be delivered in five work packages (WPs) carried out by the teams at the Universities of Bangor, Birmingham, Cardiff and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology. Additional groups and stakeholders are also involved to optimize the impact of the project, including Natural Resource Wales, Beijing Genomics Institute, Environment Agency, CSIRO, The Natural History Museaum, Cornell University, Eawag, and Welsh Government.
Work Package 1
Field experiment to assess the influence of environmental factors on eDNA degradation in lotic systems. Here we will use artificial stream channels previously established by Cardiff University for the Duress project to assess the effects of a range of physical and chemical drivers on the loss of lotic eDNA and to compare and contrast genetic and genomic approaches for assessing known sources of lotic eDNA.
Photo: Sara Johnston
Work Package 2
WP2 will test our experimental findings in tracking natural eDNA sources, during annual transit throughout the extremely well characterized river Conwy catchment and also assess relationships between eDNA and the community in diverse drainages experiencing different land uses and physicochemical characteristics.
Work Package 3
In coordination with Welsh Government’s and CEH’s GMEP Welsh National survey project, we have sampled lotic eDNA nationwide to upscale the experimental and catchment-scale findings of WP1 and WP2.
Photos by Pete Scarlett
Work Package 4
Utilizing the findings from WP1, WP2 and WP3 we will improve methodological approaches for eDNA data acquisition and interpreting eDNA data using phylogenetic and phylogenomic species’ concepts with the University of Birmingham to identify species level diversity in eDNA datasets.
Work Package 5
The WP5 will see the construction of a systems ecology experiment that will test the predictive power of eDNA, thereby demonstrating the transformation of eDNA from a biodiversity inventory tool, to one that can be used to interpret biodiversity-ecosystem function relationships.