Rutgers eDNA Lab

Environmental DNA (eDNA) is source of biodiversity information that allows for detailed and efficient surveys of rare or invasive species. We maintain an active eDNA lab where we develop cutting-edge statistical and molecular survey tools for use in critical resource management decisions. Our projects span terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. The Rutgers eDNA lab can assist in developing species-specific or multi-species molecular assays, develop novel eDNA aggregation techniques suited for a variety of biological situations, and provide decision-support tools that incorporate eDNA survey results into project-specific management objectives.

Key collaborators include Dina Fonseca, Anne Nielsen, and Olaf Jensen.

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Brown Marmorated Stinkbug

The brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB – Halyomorpha halys) is an invasive insect that is causes severe damage to fruit, vegetable, and nut crops, rendering these goods unmarketable. We developed a novel eDNA survey that allows for active surveillance of BMSB that can detect nascent populations in agricultural and forest settings. We are in the process of developing associated decision support tools that are based on eDNA surveys.

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Spotted Laternfly

The spotted lantern fly (SLF – Lycorma delicatula) is a recent invasive species in the United States that can cause severe injury to trees, tree fruit, and grapes. There are several active investigations into how to detect SLF when they are in low abundance to aid in eradication decisions. We have developed an eDNA protocol for SLF surveys within forest and agricultural settings that can support these efforts.

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Emerald Ash Borer

Emerald ash borers (Agrilus planipennis) first arrived in North America in the 1990s causing widespread mortality to our native ash trees. Despite strong control measures, the species continues to expand its range. We are working to develop an eDNA protocol for identifying trees harboring ash borer larvae for use in population control and single-tree treatment decisions.