Here we show an overview of the fieldwork and labwork techniques that we apply to produce comprehensive biodiversity inventories from environmental DNA (eDNA).
Insects are one of the most diverse and species-rich taxonomic groups, containing about half of all species that have so far been scientifically described. Furthermore, insects act as collectors of environmental DNA, as they feed from plants, mushrooms, and other organisms in their surrounding. By applying Insect Malaise traps, we capture a large portion of the insect diversity above ground, providing us a comprehensive sample of the DNA of these insects, as well as the DNA of their gut-contents and parasites.
When we think of biodiversity, we often think of the charismatic species of animals and plants that we experience during a forest walk. However, there is much more to biodiversity than what meets the eye; there is a mind-staggering diversity below our feet in the soil. Most recent estimates come to the conclusion that more than half of the species on this planet live in the soil. To capture this large part of a site's diversity, we apply soil core samplers that reach up to 40cm below the surface. These soil samples provide a glimpse into a largely hidden but incredibly complex ecosystem, containing DNA of the rich fungal, invertebrate, and plant species communities that can be found below the surface.