DNAqua-Net: Developing new genetic tools for bioassessment and monitoring of aquatic ecosystems in Europe
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionResearch Ideas and Outcomes. 2016, 2: e11321 10.3897/rio.2.e11321
The protection, preservation and restoration of aquatic ecosystems and their functions are of global importance. For European states it became legally binding mainly through the EU-Water Framework Directive (WFD). In order to assess the ecological status of a given water body, aquatic biodiversity data are obtained and compared to a reference water body. The quantified mismatch obtained determines the extent of potential management actions. The current approach to biodiversity assessment is based on morpho-taxonomy. This approach has many drawbacks such as being time consuming, limited in temporal and spatial resolution, and error-prone due to the varying individual taxonomic expertise of the analysts. Novel genomic tools can overcome many of the aforementioned problems and could complement or even replace traditional bioassessment. Yet, a plethora of approaches are independently developed in different institutions, thereby hampering any concerted routine application. The goal of this Action is to nucleate a group of researchers across disciplines with the task to identify gold-standard genomic tools and novel eco-genomic indices for routine application in biodiversity assessments of European fresh- and marine water bodies. Furthermore, DNAqua-Net will provide a platform for training of the next generation of European researchers preparing them for the new technologies. Jointly with water managers, politicians, and other stakeholders, the group will develop a conceptual framework for the standard application of eco-genomic tools as part of legally binding assessments.