July 9, 2015

Assessing quality of flowing waters with DNA analyses

RUB biologists develop fast and reliable lab protocol

Organisms in streams and rivers shed light on quality of waters

(july 9, 2015)  The quality of waters can be assessed using of the organisms occurring therein. This approach often results in errors, because many species look alike. Therefore, new methods focus on DNA analyses instead. Biologists at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB) have optimised the process so that they are now able to identify many organisms at once in a quick and reliable manner using short DNA sequences. The results have been published in the "PLOS ONE" magazine.

Expert knowledge for species identification threatens to disappear
Industry, agriculture and human settlement put a strain on bodies of water; some organisms cannot survive due to the changing conditions in streams and rivers. Accordingly, their existence sheds light on the quality of the habitat. However, the number of experts able to identify the small animals on the basis of their appearance is in decline; only a few junior researchers are active in this field. RUB researchers from the Department Animal Ecology, Evolution and Biodiversity help preserve expert knowledge.

read entire press  release >>