DNA based methods for detecting species from various environments have advanced quickly recently. Our EBAI project has been actively involved in this development. However, molecular monitoring methods have been employed mainly in detecting endangered or invasive species, and DNA metabarcoding of macroinvertebrate communities has focused on small-scale comparisons within single systems or countries. Therefore, researchers from the Nordic countries developed a project, SCANDNAnet, to allow testing DNA metabarcoding of macroinvertebrate communities on a large geographic scale and across countries.
From the SCANDNAnet webpage: «SCANDNAnet covers a geographically very large extent by using samples from the annual national monitoring programs of all Nordic countries. The novel advances made during this project can directly be put into use in the national monitoring programs of the Nordic countries and will have far reaching impact in Europe and beyond. Through intensive dialogue with relevant national and international stakeholders our results will help facilitate cost-effective, standardized DNA-based biomonitoring and create a significant societal impact by promoting reliable future aquatic ecosystem status and service management»
In total, SCANDNAnet has 305 samples, of which 50 samples are from Sweden, 48 from Finland, 139 from Norway, 8 from Iceland, and 60 samples are from Denmark. Currently, these samples are dried and homogenized at the NTNU University Museum. After homogenizing, DNA will be extracted from the samples, and a fragment of the barcoding gene COI will be amplified, using primers BF2 and BR2 (Elbrecht and Leese 2017). The samples will be sequenced, using Illumina HiSeq system. This study scales up the study of Elbrecht et al. (2017) that showed very promising results, using Finnish stream monitoring samples.