The new research investigated a way to gather eDNA from the air to monitor land animals such as birds and mammals, including vulnerable species.
Both Hajibabaei and Hanner already use eDNA as a biomonitoring tool for marine and aquatic conservation.
Hajibabaei manages an eDNA biomonitoring program called STREAM (Sequencing the Rivers for Environmental Assessment and Monitoring) that uses metabarcoding of key bottom-living organisms to monitor the health of rivers in little-researched areas of Canada.
He said while the findings serve as valuable proof-of-concept papers, “there are so many caveats,” he said. The researchers’ success “warrants a bit of cautious optimism rather than irrational exuberance,” he said.
Hanner and his team specialize in using genetic methods to identify species and have spent more than a decade studying seafood fraud.