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Moving Genetic Biomonitoring from a Concept to a Tool
Pilgrim, E. AND E. Stein. Moving Genetic Biomonitoring from a Concept to a Tool. 2016 Annual Meeting of the Society of Freshwater Science, Sacramento, CA, May 22 - 26, 2016.
Present current advances in genetic techniques applied to biomonitoring and provide guidance on how these techniques can move from proof of concept to implemented tools.
Molecular genetic techniques like DNA barcoding and environmental DNA have been proposed as tools for aquatic biomonitoring for nearly a decade, but have yet to break through into widespread acceptance. The potential benefits of these methods, such as quicker, cheaper, more detailed measures of biodiversity, remain on the horizon, yet environmental managers continue to hesitate to move away from traditional techniques. This lack of adoption of genetic environmental methods suggests a continued disconnect between the researchers advancing them and the end users that stand to benefit from them. Without addressing this disconnect, the likelihood of adopting molecular genetic tools into environmental monitoring is slim. Here, we outline three areas for development of molecular methods from concepts to tools for environmental managers: 1) creating consensus between researchers in laboratory protocols and data standards; 2) addressing questions of reproducibility and standardized data analyses; 3) outlining how molecular genetics align and differ from standard techniques but also create opportunities beyond traditional tools. We would argue that advancement in these research topics will foster improved relationships with implementers of these genetic environmental tools.