skip to main content

This content will become publicly available on January 1, 2025

Title: Toward a national eDNA strategy for the United States

Environmental DNA (eDNA) data make it possible to measure and monitor biodiversity at unprecedented resolution and scale. As use‐cases multiply and scientific consensus grows regarding the value of eDNA analysis, public agencies have an opportunity to decide how and where eDNA data fit into their mandates. Within the United States, many federal and state agencies are individually using eDNA data in various applications and developing relevant scientific expertise. A national strategy for eDNA implementation would capitalize on recent scientific developments, providing a common set of next‐generation tools for natural resource management and public health protection. Such a strategy would avoid patchwork and possibly inconsistent guidelines in different agencies, smoothing the way for efficient uptake of eDNA data in management. Because eDNA analysis is already in widespread use in both ocean and freshwater settings, we focus here on applications in these environments. However, we foresee the broad adoption of eDNA analysis to meet many resource management issues across the nation because the same tools have immediate terrestrial and aerial applications.

more » « less
Award ID(s):
1849227 2144304
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; more » ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; « less
Publisher / Repository:
Environmental DNA
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Environmental DNA
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract

    Although natural resource managers are concerned about climate change, many are unable to adequately incorporate climate change science into their adaptation strategies or management plans, and are not always aware of or do not always employ the most current scientific knowledge. One of the most prominent natural resource management agencies in the United States is the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which is tasked with managing over 248 million acres (>1 million km2) of public lands for multiple, often conflicting, uses. Climate change will affect the sustainability of many of these land uses and could further increase conflicts between them. As such, the purpose of our study was to determine the extent to which climate change will affect public land uses, and whether the BLM is managing for such predicted effects. To do so, we first conducted a systematic review of peer‐reviewed literature that discussed potential impacts of climate change on the multiple land uses the BLM manages in the Intermountain West, USA, and then expanded these results with a synthesis of projected vegetation changes. Finally, we conducted a content analysis of BLM Resource Management Plans in order to determine how climate change is explicitly addressed by BLM managers, and whether such plans reflect changes predicted by the scientific literature. We found that active resource use generally threatens intrinsic values such as conservation and ecosystem services on BLM land, and climate change is expected to exacerbate these threats in numerous ways. Additionally, our synthesis of vegetation modeling suggests substantial changes in vegetation due to climate change. However, BLM plans rarely referred to climate change explicitly and did not reflect the results of the literature review or vegetation model synthesis. Our results suggest there is a disconnect between management of BLM lands and the best available science on climate change. We recommend that the BLM actively integrates such research into on‐the‐ground management plans and activities, and that researchers studying the effects of climate change make a more robust effort to understand the practices and policies of public land management in order to effectively communicate the management significance of their findings.

    more » « less
  2. Tarolli, P. ; Mudd, S. (Ed.)
    High-resolution topography (HRT) is a powerful observational tool for studying the Earth's surface, vegetation, and urban landscapes, with broad scientific, engineering, and education-based applications. Submeter resolution imaging is possible when collected with laser and photogrammetric techniques using the ground, air, and space-based platforms. Open access to these data and a cyberinfrastructure platform that enables users to discover, manage, share, and process then increases the impact of investments in data collection and catalyzes scientific discovery. Furthermore, open and online access to data enables broad interdisciplinary use of HRT across academia and in communities such as education, public agencies, and the commercial sector. OpenTopography, supported by the US National Science Foundation, aims to democratize access to Earth science-oriented, HRT data and processing tools. We utilize cyberinfrastructure, including large-scale data management, high-performance computing, and service-oriented architectures to provide efficient web-based visualization and access to large, HRT datasets. OT colocates data with processing tools to enable users to quickly access custom data and derived products for their application, with the ultimate goal of making these powerful data easier to use. OT's rapidly growing data holdings currently include 283 lidar and photogrammetric, point cloud datasets (>1.2 trillion points) covering 236,364km2. As a testament to OT's success, more than 86,000 users have processed over 5 trillion lidar points. This use has resulted in more than 290 peer-reviewed publications across numerous academic domains including Earth science, geography, computer science, and ecology. 
    more » « less
  3. Abstract

    Quantifying movement and demographic events of free‐ranging animals is fundamental to studying their ecology, evolution and conservation. Technological advances have led to an explosion in sensor‐based methods for remotely observing these phenomena. This transition to big data creates new challenges for data management, analysis and collaboration.

    We present the Movebank ecosystem of tools used by thousands of researchers to collect, manage, share, visualize, analyse and archive their animal tracking and other animal‐borne sensor data. Users add sensor data through file uploads or live data streams and further organize and complete quality control within the Movebank system. All data are harmonized to a data model and vocabulary. The public can discover, view and download data for which they have been given access to through the website, the Animal Tracker mobile app or by API. Advanced analysis tools are available through the EnvDATA System, the MoveApps platform and a variety of user‐developed applications. Data owners can share studies with select users or the public, with options for embargos, licenses and formal archiving in a data repository.

    Movebank is used by over 3,100 data owners globally, who manage over 6 billion animal location and sensor measurements across more than 6,500 studies, with thousands of active tags sending over 3 million new data records daily. These data underlie >700 published papers and reports. We present a case study demonstrating the use of Movebank to assess life‐history events and demography, and engage with citizen scientists to identify mortalities and causes of death for a migratory bird.

    A growing number of researchers, government agencies and conservation organizations use Movebank to manage research and conservation projects and to meet legislative requirements. The combination of historic and new data with collaboration tools enables broad comparative analyses and data acquisition and mapping efforts. Movebank offers an integrated system for real‐time monitoring of animals at a global scale and represents a digital museum of animal movement and behaviour. Resources and coordination across countries and organizations are needed to ensure that these data, including those that cannot be made public, remain accessible to future generations.

    more » « less
  4. Abstract

    In this article, we respond to a critique of our earlier work examining the USDA Forest Service’s (USFS’s) planning processes. We appreciate that our critics introduce new data to the discussion of USFS planning. Further data integration is a promising path to developing a deeper understanding of agency activities. Our critics’ analysis largely supports our original claims. Our most important difference is in our conceptualization of the planning process’s relationship to agency goals. Although our critics conceive of the USFS’s legally prescribed planning processes as a barrier to land management activities, we believe that public comment periods, scientific analysis, and land management activities are tools the agency uses to achieve its goals of managing land in the public interest.

    Study Implications: The USDA Forest Service’s current planning process has been critiqued as a barrier to accomplishing land management activities, but it is also an important tool for insuring science-based management and understanding public values and interests that the agency is legally bound to uphold.

    more » « less
  5. The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) and the Association of American Universities (AAU), with support from the National Science Foundation, convened the Accelerating Public Access to Research Data Workshop on October 29-30, 2018. The purpose of the workshop was to provide a venue for learning, sharing, and planning (campus roadmaps) to support research universities as they create and implement institutional and cross-institutional strategies and systems to provide public access to research data. It also provided a forum for participants to hear from federal agencies concerning their current activities and plans regrading data access. To date, institutional efforts to provide public access to research data have lacked coordination. Additionally, a long-term multi-institutional strategy for data access has been slow to develop due to the complexities of data management and the decentralized nature of the research enterprise. Access to data presents a particularly difficult challenge given the technical knowledge required and the variation in data creation and use across disciplines. While providing the public with access to tax-payer-funded research data is challenging, it will ultimately speed the pace of scientific advancement and innovation and strengthen research integrity. The workshop and report, together with prior and subsequent engagement by APLU and AAU, will help to accelerate public access to research data. 
    more » « less