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Using eDNA to Assess Forest Biodiversity

A proof of concept for bat eDNA detection through sampling of small pools of drinking water in upland forests.

  • Kentucky, Ohio

    Kentucky, Ohio

Designing and implementing innovative sampling protocol

In forested uplands of the Midwest, small ponds and water-filled road ruts appear to be particularly important sources of water and foraging for bats. To help our client further their forest biodiversity assessments, our team investigated detection of bat eDNA from 21 flooded road ruts documented as source drinking water in Kentucky and Ohio upland forests.

Using eDNA methodology, our team developed and implemented an innovative sampling protocol for the detection of bat species within upland forests without reliance on finding guano or the knowledge of roost locations. With laboratory partners, we designed and tested new eDNA assays for the detection of big brown bat (Eptesicus fuscus) and eastern red bat (Lasiurus borealis). Road-ruts within Kentucky detected the presence of big brown bat eDNA in spring and summer months, and road ruts in Kenucky and Ohio each positively detected eastern red bat eDNA.

Through this project, many other amphibians (toads, frogs, and newts), birds (eastern phoebe and wood thrush), and mammals (opossum, deer, racoon, and black bear) were identified throughout the water samples. This demonstrates the potential benefits of biodiversity assessments with eDNA sampling, and how our technique can be implemented as an additional detection tool for threatened and endangered animals within these regions.

At a Glance

Meet Our Team

Nathaniel Marshall, Environmental Scientist

I strive to implement novel environmental DNA approaches to provide science-driven solutions for a wide range of clients and project goals.
Nathaniel Marshall Environmental Scientist Read More

Nathaniel Marshall

Environmental Scientist

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