Environmental DNA (eDNA)

Food production systems are facing unprecedented pressure from climate change, loss of arable land, new pests and diseases, and declining pollinator species such as birds and insects. SWCC is supporting a Curtin University research project investigating avocado pollinators using innovative environmental DNA technology.

Environmental DNA (eDNA) is collected from avocado flowers at six participating orchards and, using their expelled DNA, laboratory analysis detects which species have been present within that environment.

This information will determine the distribution of beneficial, pollinating insects as well as ‘antagonistic’, non-beneficial species. Understanding how these species interact with crops can inform future pollinator management techniques, such as interrow planting of insect-attracting plants or species-specific pest control.

eDNA

“Our study offers an exciting opportunity to understand how pollinating insects in the biodiversity hotspot of South West Western Australia interrelate with avocado orchards. Hopefully, this will provide management strategies to help introduce this diverse community into agricultural practices”
– Joshua Kestel, Curtin University.

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