However, the interpretation of airborne eDNA data is quite complex. for a start, Not all species produce the same amount of DNA, A solid oak will shed more pollen than a wildflower, and deer will shed more hair than mice. “Birds give us short-term visits, but they are also very nimble,” explains Littlefair, a biologist at Queen Mary University of London. Perhaps they inject a lot of DNA into the air and even a past can fly Sample, On the other hand, the probability of detecting, for example, a worm, may not be as high: “Some types of small invertebrates that live in the soil may release less DNA,” says Littlefair, although “there is a possibility that The wind picks up debris or sediment from the ground and disperses it back into the atmosphere.”
Information about this at the moment Hawaii Environmental DNA Records whether a DNA variant is detected or not. It is more difficult to tabulate how many animals or plants of each species were in a given area, or to record how long they were there. This requires further research, as it may provide more granular information about populations, suggesting, for example, that a endangered specie Can be at most.
Researchers will be more likely to follow long-term trends if they can be convinced air sampling station operator To store the used filters and then hand them over to the biologists. But of the thousands of sampling stations around the world, some operators don’t store their filters, while others store them for decades.
Operators of Scotland Station, a facility that is part of the UK’s Heavy Metal Monitoring Network, operate Consecutive samples of one week duration And they should keep the filter for between a year and 18 months. Although DNA degrades over time, researchers They were able to get good samples of eight month old filters, “This gives us a great incentive to look at older archived samples kept by some countries, which can preserve data for longer periods,” says Claire. “if even Some Most of them are viable going back in time, so there’s incredible potential for a treasure trove of data.”
The researchers compared the Scottish data with samples taken at an NPL facility next to London’s Bushey Park, a vast forest that is home to herds of deer. As this sampler was not officially part of the monitoring network, they could vary the sampling time in London from an hour to a day or a week and observe a wide range of particle sizes. He also attempted to freeze the filters immediately to increase the chances of obtaining viable DNA. The results were similar to the sampling experiment in Scotland, suggesting that Air monitoring stations around the world are now equipped to take accurate eDNA readings,
For the research team, the race is now on to persuade air station operators around the world to stop throwing away their filters: “We’re trying to warn, as quickly as possible, that this is a set of data that originally may have been lost over the decades,” says Claire. “We hope some of them can be saved. But if not, let’s start saving them.”