• Use of environmental DNA analysis to detect the presence of water vole

      Halford, Carl M; Jones, Karl J; Hill, David J; Schmerer, Wera Margarete (Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management, 2018-03)
      The UK water vole population has fallen dramatically in recent years. Accurate and reliable methods of detecting the presence or absence of water vole at specific locations are critical to conservation efforts. Traditional survey methods can, in some cases, be invasive, inaccurate or difficult to carry out. This study aimed to develop a novel method based on identification of environmental DNA (eDNA) to detect the presence of water vole via analysis of water samples. The results demonstrate that the technique offers an accurate method of detection. However, this study was based on a relatively small sample and certain limitations of the technique have been identified, which will be explored with further research. Nevertheless, used and interpreted correctly, the technique can provide reliable evidence of presence or absence.