Passive eDNA capture by SCUBA divers and snorkellers for monitoring inshore fish biodiversity.

Published online
19 Jan 2024
Published by
Natural England
Content type

Publication language
England & UK


This article discusses the use of a novel DNA-based method to monitor inshore marine fish communities, addressing the issue of data deficiency in coastal marine fish biodiversity records. The method utilizes passive aquatic environmental DNA (eDNA) collection devices called metaprobes, which were deployed at three locations in the UK. The metaprobes were used by citizen scientists and existing Natural England survey operations during dives. The results showed that the metaprobes performed well in comparison to active eDNA collection, providing a simpler alternative to labor-intensive filtering. The metaprobes had a measurable DNA concentration in all samples except for one negative control. A total of 67 operational taxonomic units (OTUs) were assigned to bony and cartilaginous fish species, with the majority falling into the class Actinopterygii. The top three represented species were Salmo salar, Trisopterus minutus, and Trisopterus esmarkii. The study suggests that metaprobes have potential uses outside of being used by divers, and can be attached to other structures for expanding eDNA monitoring using citizen scientists. This allows for more broadscale data collection on species presence without the need for expensive surveys.

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