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Can eDNA be used to track changes in macroinvertebrate community composition after treatment with rotenone?

This is one of the questions we want to answer in our EBAI sub-project in Bymarka near Trondheim. Sampling was done before and after rotenone treatment in 2016 and we now follow up with three sampling events in the 2017-season. The first was done early June and the second just finished in late July. We sampled the exact same stations as last year: three different substrates in each six lakes. Three of the lakes had been treated with rotenone, the other three are untreated reference lakes.

With our sampling scheme, we also want to compare eDNA communities with the communities recorded by traditional means (kick-sampling), and see if DNA from species found on one particular substrate leaks to nearby sites in the lake where the species are not recorded.

Reporter Guro Tarjem from The Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) just recently visited us in Trondheim and made this radio-report from our study (Norwegian only): Hvem overlevde rotenondrapet?

The European beaver (Castor fiber) is definitely present at Haukvatnet. No surprise if we detect its DNA in our water samples! Photo: Torbjørn Ekrem CC-BY.

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About Torbjørn Ekrem

Professor i entomologisk systematikk ved NTNU Vitenskapsmuseet. Jobber med taksonomi og fylogeni på insekter, spesielt fjærmygg. Underviser i biosystematikk ved NTNU og er koordiantor for det norske nettverket for DNA-strekkoding, NorBOL (

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