[MARMAM] New publication: Environmental DNA (eDNA) for monitoring marine mammals: Challenges and opportunities.

Camilo Saavedra camilo.saavedra at ieo.csic.es
Sat Sep 24 04:03:07 PDT 2022

Dear all,

We are pleased to share with you our recently published review on 
environmental DNA (eDNA) for monitoring marine mammals.

It has been published, in open access, in Frontiers in Marine Sciences, 
so you can freely access it through the following link:



Suarez-Bregua P, Álvarez-González M, Parsons KM, Rotllant J, Pierce GJ 
and Saavedra C (2022) Environmental DNA (eDNA) for monitoring marine 
mammals: Challenges and opportunities. Front. Mar. Sci. 9:987774. doi: 


Monitoring marine mammal populations is essential to permit assessment 
of population status as required by both national and international 
legislation. Traditional monitoring methods often rely on visual and/or 
acoustic detections from vessels and aircraft, but limitations including 
cost, errors in the detection of some species and dependence on 
taxonomic expertise, as well as good weather and visibility conditions 
often limit the temporal and spatial scale of effective, long-term 
monitoring programs. In recent years, environmental DNA (eDNA) has 
emerged as a revolutionary tool for cost-effective, sensitive, 
non-invasive species monitoring in both terrestrial and aquatic realms. 
eDNA is a rapidly developing field and a growing number of studies have 
successfully implemented this approach for the detection and 
identification of marine mammals. Here, we review 21 studies published 
between 2012 and 2021 that employed eDNA for marine mammal monitoring 
including single species detection, biodiversity assessment and genetic 
characterization. eDNA has successfully been used to infer species 
presence (especially useful for rare, elusive or threatened species) and 
to characterize the population genetic structure, although additional 
research is needed to support the interpretation of non-detections. 
Finally, we discuss the challenges and the opportunities that eDNA could 
bring to marine mammal monitoring as a complementary tool to support 
visual and acoustic methods.

Please, do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any question or 

Best wishes,

Camilo sp. (on behalf of all co-authors)


Dr. Camilo Saavedra Penas
Camilo.Saavedra at ieo.csic.es
Head of the Marine Mammals and Ecosystem team
Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO)

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