Quantification of biodiversity abundance using eDNA 

Workshop November 11, 09:00 – 16:00

Venue: NTNU, Akrinn building, Sverresgate 10, Room L401

Moderated by experienced eDNA researchers, participants will discuss opportunities, challenges and solutions in obtaining trustworthy abundance or biomass data from analysis of aquatic or terrestrial eDNA. A workshop goal is to identify the most promising way forward and formulate specific action points for progress for this field of research and for nature management.
A primary consideration is what is the theoretical basis that links DNA concentrations in environmental substrates to species relative/absolute abundance? For example, the expected correlation between biomass/abundance and DNA concentrations, and which situations depart from these basic assumptions (e.g. reproductive propagules and phenology etc). How does the method (metabarcoding, capture probe, shotgun sequencing) influence the quantitative signal (e.g. capture bias, capture noise, species pipeline biases, pipeline noise)? How do taphonomic issues in preservation or transport of DNA cause bias in the quantitative signal? The focus will be on community relative abundances and individual species abundance from environmental substrates.

Lunch will be served in the university cafeteria.


0900 – 1000: Introduction

  • Welcome, house-keeping.
  • Introduction to workshop (G. Dunshea):
    • Aim of workshop
    • Definitions of terms
  • Biological/Ecological considerations on nucleic acids characterization and abundance
  • Methodological considerations on nucleic acids characterization and abundance
  • Standard concepts of absolute and relative abundance regardless of methodologies and how they may or may not relate to eDNA/eRNA characterization

1000-1020: Coffee break

1020-1140: eDNA and abundance in specific biomes/applications

  • Rein Brys – freshwater (confirmed)
  • Inger Alsos – a/sedDNA (confirmed)
  • Tomas Roslin – terrestrial/insects (confirmed)
  • Stefaniya Kamenova – diet (confirmed)

1140-1300: Lunch

1300-1310: Introduction to group work

  • Description of break-out group task:
    • Current applications
    • Key challenges
    • Future directions

1310-1430: Work in break-out groups

  • Break-out groups based on application / Biome
    • Terrestial
    • Freshwater
    • Marine
    • sedDNA
    • Diet


  • Feedback from break-out group representative (10 mins per group)
  • Concluding remarks

1530-1600: End