THE EDNA CONTAINS GENETIC MATERIAL SHED BY ORGANISMS IN THE ENVIRONMENT AND CAN PROVIDE VALUABLE INSIGHTS INTO THE BIODIVERSITY AND HEALTH OF ECOSYSTEMS.
The drone, called the Spectral Phenotyping and Environmental Reconnaissance (SPEAR) system, is equipped with a hyperspectral camera and a custom-built eDNA sampler. The camera captures detailed images of the tree canopy, while the eDNA sampler collects genetic material from the leaves.
By analyzing the eDNA, researchers can identify the species of trees in the area, as well as the animals and insects that interact with them. This information can help scientists better understand the complex relationships between different species and the health of the ecosystem as a whole.
The SPEAR system has already been tested in a variety of environments, including tropical rainforests and oak woodlands. The drone’s ability to collect eDNA from trees offers a non-invasive and highly effective method for monitoring biodiversity and ecosystem health.
In addition to its scientific applications, the SPEAR system could also be used by land managers and conservationists to monitor forests and track the spread of invasive species. The system’s ability to quickly and accurately identify tree species could also be useful in forestry and timber management.
Overall, the development of the SPEAR system represents a significant step forward in the field of environmental monitoring. By combining advanced drone technology with cutting-edge eDNA analysis, researchers can gain new insights into the health and biodiversity of our planet’s ecosystems