Growing understanding of ecosystems
Organisms leave fragments of their own genetic material, eDNA, environmental DNA, in the environment in the form of microscopic tissue particles or as dissolved molecules. Scientists use these DNA traces to locate animals, to study the biotic communities of rivers and lakes with a water sample, to set up inexpensive or standardizable early warning systems before diseases occur. In his lecture, Prof. Dr. Steffen Pauls from the Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum in Frankfurt used examples to explain how the study of environmental DNA is revolutionizing the study of biological diversity.