Finnish Environment Institute coordinates a UN Science Summit session on standardising the use of eDNA methods in biological monitoring

News 2022-09-07 at 9:00
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The observed global loss of biodiversity has severe implications for human wellbeing and compounds the negative aspects of global climate change. Data from biological monitoring is the primary source of information to detect and quantify biodiversity loss, and to evaluate the effectiveness of biodiversity management actions such as ecological restoration.

The Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE) will coordinate a session at the Science Summit at the United Nations General Assembly on standardising the use of eDNA methods in biological monitoring on the 29th of September. The special session includes contributions from diverse actors related to biodiversity assessment and biological monitoring and addresses opportunities and challenges of deploying molecular methods.

SYKE has been active in developing a roadmap for the effective and reliable use of eDNA and other molecular monitoring methods, as well as a national strategy for environmental monitoring.

“This event will advance the needed international dialogue on a topic that is very important not only to SYKE but is of global relevance” says Director Kristian Meissner from the Finnish Environment Institute.

Great potential for biological monitoring

Molecular techniques have great potential to extend and improve current biological monitoring in all types of habitats and also provide a much more holistic view on biodiversity than conventional assessment methods. The technological development in molecular methodology has been extremely fast, and groundbreaking new approaches have been introduced. It is now possible to detect and quantify the DNA of target species (e.g. invasive or endangered species) and to describe whole communities from analysis of environmental samples of water, sediment and soil.

This presents a huge opportunity to improve the coverage, accuracy, and cost-efficiency of biological monitoring, enabling a much more complete picture of biodiversity and the state of the environment and their trends worldwide.

Cooperation and common standards are needed

As molecular biomonitoring has matured, multiple separate initiatives have started to attempt to establish common guidelines. However, to make results of molecular methods truly globally comparable there must be a coordinated global effort to develop internationally accepted standards on the minimal requirements for applying molecular methods and the data they produce.

There is a need for increased knowledge exchange and goal-oriented cooperation between national and multilateral policy makers and scientific experts, including private sector stakeholders and those using biodiversity data to inform decisions in conservation and environmental management on the ground. This dialogue must also include nations with differing levels of technological readiness to implement these methods and needs to create an interactive community of practice.


More information and registration on the UN Scicence Summit’s webpage:

Links to the individual sessions



Director Kristian Meissner, Finnish Environment Institute,, tel. +358 295 251 422

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