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Using eDNA to develop a national citizen science-based monitoring programme for the great crested newt (Triturus cristatus)

Biggs, Jeremy, Ewald, Naomi, Valentini, Alice, Gaboriaud, Coline, Dejean, Tony, Griffiths, Richard A., Foster, Jim, Wilkinson, John W., Arnell, Andy, Brotherton, Peter, and others. (2014) Using eDNA to develop a national citizen science-based monitoring programme for the great crested newt (Triturus cristatus). Biological Conservation, 183 . pp. 19-28. ISSN 0006-3207. (doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2014.11.029) (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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Official URL
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2014.11.029

Abstract

The use of environmental DNA (eDNA) is rapidly emerging as a potentially valuable survey technique for rare or hard to survey freshwater organisms. For the great crested newt (Triturus cristatus) in the UK, the substantial cost and manpower requirements of traditional survey methods have hampered attempts to assess the status of the species. We tested whether eDNA could provide the basis for a national citizen science-based monitoring programme for great crested newts by (i) comparing the effectiveness of eDNA monitoring with torch counts, bottle trapping and egg searches and (ii) assessing the ability of volunteers to collect eDNA samples throughout the newt’s UK range. In 35 ponds visited four times through the breeding season, eDNA detected newts on 139 out of 140 visits, a 99.3% detection rate. Bottle traps, torch counts and egg searches were significantly less effective, detecting newts 76%, 75% and 44% of the time. eDNA was less successful at predicting newt abundance being positively, but weakly, correlated with counts of the number of newts. Volunteers successfully collected eDNA samples across the UK with 219 of 239 sites (91.3%) correctly identified as supporting newts. 8.7% of sites generated false negatives, either because of very small newt populations or practical difficulties in sample collection. There were no false positives. Overall, we conclude that eDNA is a highly effective survey method and could be used as the basis for a national great crested newt monitoring programme.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1016/j.biocon.2014.11.029
Uncontrolled keywords: Environmental DNA; Citizen science; Freshwater; Biodiversity conservation; Triturus cristatus; qPCR
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH541 Ecology
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH75 Conservation (Biology)
Q Science > QL Zoology
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation
Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > DICE (Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology)
Depositing User: Richard Griffiths
Date Deposited: 22 Feb 2016 08:58 UTC
Last Modified: 29 May 2019 17:01 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/54245 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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