News & Events

Environmental DNA (eDNA) in space and time: The potential of metabarcoding to profile biota

Monday, June 04, 2018, 10:00AM - 11:00AM


Mike Bunce

Dept. of Environment and Agriculture, Curtin University


SEEL room 303 (across the hall from west elevator)

DNA isolated and characterised from a variety of substrates including sediments and water is collectively referred to as environmental DNA (eDNA). DNA is shed into the environment from a variety of biological secretory processes leaving genetic footprint that acts lens into species composition. When combined with next generation sequencing (NGS) and metabarcoding, eDNA can provide a wealth of information for studies of biodiversity, palaeoclimate, extinction processes, food web dynamics, diet analysis. Metabarcoding eDNA has become feasible only because it is now possible to simultaneously sequence millions of copies of DNA from complex multi-species environmental samples.

The research in the trace and environmental DNA (TrEnD) laboratory has been developing a variety of eDNA workflows to investigate how best to conduct eDNA work in a variety of applications from coral reef ecosystems to megafauna extinctions. This presentation will explore how eDNA derived from both ancient and modern DNA substrates can influence how we study and interpret biological systems.


Professor Mike Bunce is the head of the Trace and Environmental DNA (TrEnD) Laboratory situated within the Department of Environment and Agriculture, Curtin University. Professor Bunce completed his PhD at the Australian National University and post-docs at Oxford (UK) and McMaster (Canada) Universities before moving to Western Australia in 2006 to start his own lab.

The TrEnD Lab specialises in ancient DNA sequencing to characterise degraded DNA samples for use in a wide variety of biological applications including palaeontology, archaeology, paleoclimate, marine biology and conservation.


Free and open to the public.