Robotic DNA sampling devices under development to track biological threats in waterways

Robotic DNA sampling devices under development to track biological threats in waterways

The US Geological Survey announced today that it has signed a collaborative agreement with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, or MBARI, to develop portable robotic DNA samples capable of independent monitoring of live threats in rivers and streams without ongoing support from researchers.

With new investments from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Act, the partnership will help enhance detection of invasive species, pathogens and parasites that cause environmental and economic damage to aquatic systems. These organisms can destroy our waterways, threaten the commercial and recreational fishing industries, and promote the spread of zoonotic diseases that can affect humans.

USGS researchers have also launched a new program, building on previous work, called the Rapid eDNA Assessment and Diffusion Initiative and Network, or READI-Net, that tests parts of DNA in water known as Environmental DNAor eDNA. READI-Net will enhance early detection and rapid response methods to help resource managers contain and combat aquatic biological threats.

“Freshwater environments are critical to ecosystem health and provide valuable resources for food and recreation,” said Adam Sepulveda, USGS scientist and project leader. “The USGS has successfully used eDNA and robotic sampling methods as a strategy for early detection of biological threats to important aquatic systems.” For example, the USGS has participated in eDNA scanning campaigns for gaseous draceneid mussels, carp, round guppy, and Burmese eel in ponds across the country.

MBARI The eDNA samples will be designed to be approximately the size of a microwave oven so that they are easily carried and fit around USGS Streamgages for possible deployment throughout the country,” said Jim Birch, director of the SURF Center at MBARI. “The new eDNA samplers will provide high-quality data to scientists, leading to effective monitoring of aquatic biological threats.”

Robotic samplers can help researchers search for hard-to-find organisms by detecting their DNA in water. The current sampler designed by MBARI, which is called Environmental Sample Handler or ESP, to be a powerful 400-pound machine for use in rugged marine environments. Scientists need more compact and smarter design to facilitate diffusion into freshwater rivers and streams. As part of the new agreement, USGS and MBARI will design a new automated eDNA sampler. This new device will be smaller and lighter, with an easy-to-use computer to facilitate deployments and wireless communication so researchers can control sampling remotely.

The eDNA robot will be programmed to sample frequently and at any time of the day and will collect large amounts of data that must be managed and analyzed. USGS READI-Net researchers will develop field and laboratory procedures for obtaining high-quality data, produce analytical tools to process and validate large amounts of information, and create products for the public and decision makers, such as resource managers, to easily visualize results.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Act advances scientific innovation with an investment of $510.7 million for the United States Geological Survey (USGS) that supports the mapping and interpretation of mineral resource data, preservation of data from geochemical samples from the Earth Mapping Resources Initiative (Earth MRI), and an alternative facility to the USGS Energy and Minerals Research Center in Golden, Colorado. and other resources for scholars.

For more information about the READI-Net project, please visit USGS Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center . website.

Read more at USGS

#Robotic #DNA #sampling #devices #development #track #biological #threats #waterways

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *