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Detecting Stygofauna in Groundwater Using eDNA

The potential for more efficient, more accurate, and less invasive detection and monitoring.

  • Perth, Australia

    Perth, Australia

Can the use of eDNA shed light on vulnerable groundwater ecosystems? We put this question to the test in Western Australia.

Stygofauna—aquatic invertebrates found all over the world in suitable aquifers—are typically regionally unique. In Western Australia (WA), they can be an important consideration in the regulatory process for environmental approvals of mining and energy projects.

We collaborated with an energy client, operating in a sensitive environment in northern WA, to enhance sampling methods for stygofauna as part of the client’s overall environmental management program, particularly their efforts to protect these diverse and important subterranean ecosystems.

Currently, stygofauna are sampled by hauling nets up a bore through the groundwater column. However, this sampling method can be unreliable. In collaboration with our client, together with support from Stantec’s Creativity and Innovation program, we’re working to develop environmental DNA (eDNA) analysis—water sampling for specific DNA traces—as an efficient, more accurate, and less invasive approach for detecting stygofauna. 

At a Glance

  • Curtin University
Meet Our Team

Natasha Banning, Team Leader, Rehabilitation & Ecology

I love that I can work towards restoring ecosystems that have been disturbed while improving the environmental outcomes for our projects.
Natasha Banning Team Leader, Rehabilitation & Ecology Read More

David Jasper, Principal Scientist

Our Perth office serves a geographically diverse state, with a large and diverse resources industry—which means a lot of opportunity.

Fiona Taukulis, Group Leader, Environmental

My team and I are widely recognised by clients and regulators as the foremost salt lake ecology specialists in Western Australia.
Fiona Taukulis Group Leader, Environmental Read More

Natasha Banning

Team Leader, Rehabilitation & Ecology

David Jasper

Principal Scientist

Fiona Taukulis

Group Leader, Environmental

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