Published on
July 9, 2024

NatureMetrics and Dartmouth Ocean Technologies Launch Revolutionary Autonomous Aquatic eDNA Sampling Solution

Groundbreaking Autosampler Technology Enables Cost-Effective, Safe and Scalable Biodiversity Monitoring.

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NatureMetrics and Dartmouth Ocean Technologies Launch Revolutionary Autonomous Aquatic eDNA Sampling Solution

NatureMetrics, the global nature intelligence company, and Dartmouth Ocean Technologies (DOT), an innovative manufacturer of oceanographic instruments, today announced the commercial launch of the DOT-NM Autosampler. This cutting-edge system enables autonomous collection of eDNA samples from marine and freshwater environments to provide comprehensive biodiversity insights at unprecedented scale.

Revolutionizing Aquatic Environmental Monitoring

The DOT-NM Autosampler addresses a critical bottleneck in aquatic environmental monitoring by autonomously sampling eDNA - genetic material naturally shed into waters by organisms - over extended deployments without the need for labor-intensive vessel-based campaigns. This groundbreaking capability unlocks safe, cost-effective and continuous biodiversity data collection even in the most remote aquatic locations.

 

"Through integration with our proprietary eDNA workflows, this solution enables the collection of comprehensive biodiversity data required to make informed decisions for conservation, regulatory compliance and ecological research - even in the most remote areas.’’ said Dr. Nathan Geraldi, Senior Technical Marine Product Owner at NatureMetrics.

Proven Performance and Commercial Adoption

After rigorous validation, the Autosampler has proven to generate eDNA data with equivalent species detection and biodiversity resolution to conventional manual sampling methods performed by human crews. Leading environmental survey provider Fugro is now planning commercial deployments, leveraging its autonomous sampling capabilities over multi-month offshore campaigns to significantly reduce operational costs compared to cyclic vessel-based surveys.  

End-to-End Nature Intelligence Solution

The Autosampler seamlessly integrates with NatureMetrics' end-to-end nature intelligence reporting workflow powered by eDNA technology and cutting-edge bioinformatics. Following autonomous sample collection utilizing NatureMetrics’ proprietary eDNA filter technology, samples are processed through a state-of-the-art eDNA laboratory. The resultant data is then analyzed using NatureMetrics' pioneering DNA metabarcoding pipelines to identify species in the study area. Comprehensive biodiversity insights are delivered to clients via the NatureMetrics Intelligence Platform, featuring interactive data visualization and reporting tools tailored for environmental decision-making.

 

This integrated online solution not only simplifies marine and freshwater environmental monitoring programs by replacing often complex logistical supply chains, but provides practitioners with auditable, actionable datasets - finally aligning the biological data collection with the spatial and temporal resolutions required for robust environmental management.

 

A Partnership for Innovation

"We are proud to officially launch this pioneering autonomous sampling product in partnership with NatureMetrics and open the door to biodiversity monitoring at a scale previously unattainable," said Arnold Furlong, CEO of Dartmouth Ocean Technologies. "The DOT-NM Autosampler harnesses complementary expertise to overcome the limitations of traditional survey methods through safe, cost-effective and unsupervised eDNA sampling in all aquatic environments."

 

Key Capabilities and Features

Leveraging DOT's expertise in designing rugged oceanographic instrumentation, the Autosampler system is engineered for reliable operations across a diverse range of conditions in aquatic environments. Key capabilities include:

 

- Autonomous collection of up to 9 consecutive 5-liter eDNA samples per deployment  

- User-configurable sample timing and volume settings based on study requirements

- Automatic sample preservation and self-cleaning routines between samples

- Three depth rating options for 20m, 200m and 2000m deployments

- Versatile deployment modes: vessel-based, static mooring, or integrated with drones/AUVs

- Applications spanning marine conservation, offshore energy, aquaculture, wastewater and more

 

Advancing Biodiversity Understanding

By unlocking systematic, repeated eDNA sampling, the DOT-NM Autosampler captures a holistic biodiversity picture previously unattainable through intermittent, patchy surveys. This includes detecting migratory and nocturnal species, as well as resolving ecosystem changes over time - crucial environmental baselines for effective monitoring and management programs.

 

With significantly reduced HSE exposure, cost and carbon footprint savings compared to manual surveys, and proven data quality, the DOT-NM Autosampler is poised to drive the proliferation of eDNA-based biodiversity measurement across industries.  

 

"This revolutionary sampling technology will open new frontiers in our understanding of aquatic ecosystems" said Dr. Geraldi. "By finally bridging the gap between eDNA's transformative potential and scalable biomonitoring, we can generate the biodiversity insights required to drive more sustainable stewardship of our oceans, coastlines and inland waters."

The solution is now fully up and running and available for commercial use with new and existing customers. To learn more and enquire about deployment in your surveys, visit DOT-NM Autosampler (naturemetrics.com) 

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