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Using eDNA to identify taonga species: Te Miro Farm case study

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posted on 2024-06-21, 04:09 authored by Arapera Paewai, Penelope Drysdale, Adrian CooksonAdrian Cookson, Shaun Wilkinson​, Amy Gault

This research project aimed to enable farmers to see where wildlife and farmed animals are contributing to environmental DNA (eDNA), provide a method to detect positive change in future, and give communities a way to connect more deeply with their awa and its ecosystems.

The research was hosted by a dairy farm at the culturally significant headwaters of the Manawatū River in the Ruahine Ranges, and was undertaken by: Arapera Paewai (Taiao Ora Contracting), Penelope Drysdale (Te Miro Farm/Drysdale Dairies), Adrian Cookson (AgResearch), Shaun Wilkinson and Amy Gault (WilderlabNZ Ltd). Key findings: • The native species that live in our rivers leave eDNA, which can be detected to help communities understand the health of the water and the taonga species it supports. • Identification of fish, bird and plant species via eDNA includes taonga species and aligns with the key indicators currently used by regional councils. • Among the taonga species identified using eDNA in the case study were whio/blue duck (not previously recorded in the area), ruru/morepork, kōtare/kingfisher, tuna/longfin and shortfin eels, kaharore bully, dwarf galaxias and kōura. • The number of individuals of each species cannot be identified via eDNA. • The results provided an opportunity to have honest conversations with farmers as it enabled them to see where wildlife and farmed animals are contributing eDNA.

Funding

Funded by the New Zealand Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment's Our Land and Water National Science Challenge (Toitū te Whenua, Toiora te Wai) as part of project Rural Professionals Fund 2022–23

History

Publication date

2022-12-07

Language

  • English

Does this contain Māori information or data?

  • No

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