WK 8 - Understanding the Ecology of Environmental DNA (eDNA) from Diverse Disciplines

Sunday, August 7, 2016: 8:00 AM-11:30 AM
315, Ft Lauderdale Convention Center
Matthew A. Barnes
Cameron R. Turner
Along with novel ecosystems, the Anthropocene brings novel tools for studying ecosystems. Powerful genetic/genomic tools enabled the realization that all organisms shed molecular traces of their presence into the environment. In ecology, use of extraorganismal “environmental DNA” (eDNA) has gained prominence for detecting incipient invasive populations or endangered species. However, diverse ecological disciplines and related fields also study extraorganismal DNA, including microbiology, fecal pollution tracking, forensics, hydrogeology, and environmental biosafety. Despite methodological overlap between disciplines, interdisciplinary discourse is limited. Thus, practitioners risk overlooking useful data and models, or worse, wasting resources on duplicative research.

The ecology of eDNA - its origin, state, transport, and fate - is where these otherwise disparate disciplines can profitably converge. To increase interaction and promote interdisciplinary synthesis, this workshop will gather experts from across disciplines to discuss state-of-the-art knowledge and application within their respective fields and develop a framework to promote continued information exchange and collaboration. 

The workshop will begin with short presentations from practitioners using eDNA across disciplines. Participants will then break into four discussion groups according to interest/expertise in one of the four domains of the ecology of eDNA (origin, state, transport, fate). Groups will report back to the entire workshop on similarities and differences in methods and understanding. Key findings from breakout and large group discussion will form the basis of two products: (1) a funding proposal to support an interdisciplinary working group (target: NCEAS), and (2) a group-authored publication illustrating how interdisciplinary connections accelerate eDNA applications (target: Ecological Applications).

Registration Fee: $25

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