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Since 2017, NHBS and NatureMetrics have worked in collaboration to provide a Great Crested Newt eDNA service that is second-to-none. Combining our expertise in sourcing and shipping equipment with the laboratory excellence of NatureMetrics, this partnership has allowed both teams to focus fully on our strengths in order to provide a fast and efficient kit delivery and analysis.
eDNA, or environmental DNA, is genetic material found in the environment. This DNA comes from organisms in various forms, including (but not limited to) faeces, mucus, gametes, shed skin or hair. Although eDNA degrades over time, it can persist long enough for its presence to be tested from environmental samples.
Sampling and testing of eDNA in pond water is an increasingly popular method of determining presence of Great Crested Newts. Unlike traditional methods of bottle trapping or torch searches, collecting pond water samples for analysis has very low impact on newts and other pond inhabitants. It also has obvious benefits in terms of labour time, and ecologists are less restricted to specific times of day for surveying.
The sampling process involves the use of a ladle to collect samples of pond water which are then mixed together in a bag. A small volume of this pond water is then added to each of six tubes containing a preservative solution and control DNA. These tubes are returned to the lab where quantitative PCR (qPCR) is used to amplify and measure the GCN DNA (if present), thus determining the presence of newts in the pond.
NatureMetrics is an award-winning company who utilise cutting-edge genetic techniques to monitor biodiversity. Focusing exclusively on the applied ecology market, their purpose-built laboratories and experienced staff provide high-quality results and a rapid turnaround of samples. Their senior staff are all recognised experts in DNA-based monitoring and this is reflected in their extensive publication record. As well as providing a DNA-monitoring service for a variety of survey and screening types, they also offer training days and courses which will ensure that you are fully up-to-date with the latest techniques.
Delivery costs are covered in the kit price and, for regular customers, an online sample tracking system will allow you to place orders and view the progress of your sample. A handy mobile app lets you submit field data on your phone. Standard turnaround is 10 working days from receipt of sample to the lab and a fast turnaround service of 5 working days is also available. A super-fast turnaround of 2 days is usually possible upon request.