"UNIFIeD" will address how small Nordic countries and remote regions use eDNA for marine research and monitoring
In recent years, there has been a steady increase in using environmental DNA (eDNA) methods for marine research in the Nordic region. While eDNA has great potential as a tool for managing marine resources, the lack of “gold standard” methods for how to handle samples and analyze data hampers collaboration and comparison of results. For smaller communities and remote areas, there has been the added challenge of lacking relevant national scientific and political schemes in marine monitoring programs, thus increasing the inconsistent nature of eDNA application and limiting regional application from larger international consortiums.
The increasing call for harmonization and standardization in the use of eDNA methods has revealed a fundamental need for creating an overview of the current status in eDNA application to marine research and monitoring.
“Unifying Nordic Initatives and Fostering Involvment on eDNA” (UNIFIeD) will bring together researchers from eight institutions in Greenland, Iceland, the Faroe Islands and Norway to gather regional data through an on-line questionnaire and compile a status report on both fundamental methodology issues such as sampling, storage, and archiving, and well as societal and policy issues related to eDNA projects, such as funding sources, and government or regulatory familiarity with eDNA.
The project will conclude with a virtual panel meeting for all stakeholders in order to address the key findings of the status report and plan cooperation toward harmonizing and implementing eDNA methods in Nordic marine monitoring.
All the Nordic regions represented have large coastlines and fjord systems bordering the North Atlantic Ocean and would benefit from building a consensus on eDNA work within the region. Furthermore, since the areas covered by the UNIFIeD consortium are of global importance with respect to Uniclimate change and geopolitics, consensus building on eDNA-based marine resource management will be critical to meeting the Global Goals For Sustainable Development.
The one-year UNIFIeD project is funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers Working Group for Ocean and Coastal Areas.
Faroe Islands: Fiskaaling, Havstovan, University of the Faroe Islands
Greenland: Greenland Institute of Natural Resources
Iceland: Matís, Marine and Freshwater Research Institute (MFRI), University of Iceland
Norway: Arctic University of Norway
Contact: Ása Jacobsen, PhD
Department of Biotechnology, Fiskaaling