In cooperation with Nature Conservation Agency and Latvian Biomedical Research and Study Centre, the project “Monitoring of invasive species in SSSI using environmental DNA method” (“Invazīvo sugu monitorings ĪADT izmantojot vides DNS metodi” Nr.1-08/87/2023) funded by the Latvian Environmental Protection Fund was launched in October
Monitoring of non-indigenous species in specially protected nature areas using environmental DNA method (No.1-08/87/2023)
Non-indigenous species can cause major economic and environmental damage, even affecting human health and well-being. They are one of the main drivers of biodiversity loss. It is therefore important to monitor non-indigenous species over as wide a range as possible to prevent their rapid spread in specially protected areas. Environmental DNA analysis has been cited as a promising approach for monitoring non-indigenous species. It can detect the presence of species even when there are very few individuals in the environment, thus enabling an early response to invasion threats. The aim of this project is therefore to monitor the presence of non-indigenous species in specially protected areas using an environmental DNA analysis approach.
The main tasks of LIAE
- To assess the data available on non-indigenous species in freshwater ecosystems together with the Nature Conservation Agency,
- To collect tissue samples from the freshwater jellyfish Craspedacusta sowerbii to obtain reference DNA
- Collect at least 100 environmental DNA samples in selected specially protected areas
- To adopt the practice of analysing environmental DNA samples, so that in future such studies can also be carried out by qualified staff at LIAE
- To create a database with coordinates of locations where non-indigenous species have been registered
- To create a map of Latvia which features these locations
- To organize at least one public event – during Researchers’ Night at LIAE, expert seminar organized by Nature Conservation Agency or at another public dissimination event
- To participate in at least one scientific conference organized in Latvia or Europe with a presentation, in person or remotely
- To organize a final project seminar in person or remotely with project partners and other interested parties.
At the beginning of October, the first meeting was held with the experts of the Nature Protection Agency, during which the data available so far on non-indigenous species in freshwater ecosystems were evaluated and, accordingly, the areas where the samples should be collected were agreed upon. The experts agreed that samples will be collected in protected nature areas, where the distribution of freshwater non-indigenous species has not been investigated or has been done minimally, so the data obtained will be used in the future management of these areas.
List of areas where the collection of environmental DNA samples is planned:
- Rāzna National Park – min. 10 samples;
- Slītere National Park – min. 10 samples;
- Gauja National Park –min. 10 samples;
- Ķemeri National Park –min. 10 samples;
- Teiči Nature Reserve – min. 10 samples;
- Moricsala Nature Reserve – min. 10 samples;
- Augšdaugava Protected Landscape – min. 10 samples;
- Venta river basin area tributaries in specially protected areas – min. 10 samples;
- Gauja river basin area tributaries in specially protected areas – min. 10 samples;
- Daugava river basin tributaries in specially protected areas – min. 10 samples;
At least these 5 non-indigenous species will be searched for in the samples:
- crayfish Orconectes limosus,
- signal crayfish Pacifastacus leniusculus,
- Chinese sleeper Perccottus glenii,
- peach blossom jellyfish Craspedacusta sowerbii
- zebra mussel Dreissena polymorpha
Project implementer: Daugavpils University agency “Latvian Institute of Aquatic Ecology”
Project cooperation partner: Latvijas Biomedicīnas pētījumu un studiju centrs – https://biomed.lu.lv/
Cooperation body: Dabas aizsardzības pārvalde – https://www.daba.gov.lv/lv
In the photo: signal crayfish in Jogla, Ziemeļvidzeme. Photo author: Marija Terēze Dzierkale
About the project
Contact person: Linda Puncule, firstname.lastname@example.org
Start of the project: 01.10.2023.
End of the project: 30.09.2024.
Latvijas vides aizsardzības fonds (LVAF)
Project funding: 49049 EUR