Traditional biomonitoring of aquatic ecosystems is time-consuming, expensive and requires extensive taxonomical knowledge. DNA-based monitoring does not have these disadvantages, but an extensive database of DNA sequences of all target species is needed.
We propose to develop a fast, DNA-based monitoring system, enabling the early detection of invasive fish and its effects on aquatic communities in the Ecuadorian Amazon river basin. This will be done through the optimizing of the nanopore Next-Generation sequencing (NGS) technique (MinION) enabling the biomonitoring of tropical aquatic environments. We aim to 1) develop a technique based on rapid DNA extractions, combined with the MinION Technology for the detection of invasive fish in real time and 2) incorporate new DNA sequences of amphibians, macroinvertebrates and fishes into the Ecuadorian DNA database. We focus our project on building capacities by improving MinION skills for the early detection of invasive fish species and their effect on aquatic communities. We strengthen capacities of staff and students (local and Belgian) through thesis, practical courses, field work, trainings and internships. This fast detection of invasive species might facilitate their eradication, the prevention of their further spreading easier, and promotes more effective aquatic ecosystem conservation actions.
Universidad Regional Amazónica Ikiam (Ecuador)
01/01/2020 - 31/12/2021