What is environmental DNA?

Environmental DNA (eDNA) is DNA collected from environmental samples (such as soil, sediment, water, etc.) without any knowledge of the original organism. The sources of these traces of DNA in the environment vary, but include DNA shed through faeces, mucous, skin, eggs, pollen, etc.

eDNA analyses offers rapid, universal and cost-effective ways to measure biodiversity, detect pests, and much more. It is a fast-moving and innovative field, and increasingly government agencies and industry are adopting it to support environmental management.

Our mission

As a society, we aim to promote science and industry collaboration across Australia and New Zealand to advance best practice eDNA methods and adoption in government, private and community sectors. We are tri-partisan; including members from researcher organisations, government and industry.


The origins of Australia and New Zealand’s eDNA society stem from informal discussions between a motivated group of eDNA practitioners in late 2020. These discussions grew into several workshops, which resulted in a formal mission and the establishment of the first working groups a year later. Members of the society were involved in organising the first Australia/New Zealand eDNA conference, which was planned for early 2022, but postponed due to COVID19. By mid-2022, the SeDNAs website went live and the first results of the working groups (national best practice guidelines) were completed. The society is currently formalising its working structure, which should be completed buy the end of 2022.


Core members include 35 researchers from 25 institutions across Australia and New Zealand. We are currently developing protocols to open membership to the wider community, as soon as these are formalised you will find more information on this website.

Working groups

  • Management group: The management group play a leading role in the development of the society and overseeing its activities. The group has 13 members and is currently led by Helen Barclay.
  • Standardisation working group: Led by Alejandro Trujilo-Gonzales & Maarten De Brauwer, this group aims to provide harmonised quality control and minimum standard considerations for:
    • creating standard operating procedures for eDNA projects
    • developing or validating eDNA assays
  • Data Issues & Management working group: This group is led by Olly Berry and Reid Tingley. The focus of the data issues group is on:
    • identifying data needs in industry
    • pursuing options for improving data interoperability
  • Comparisons with Traditional Methods working group: Craig Sherman and Tom Mooney lead the comparisons group. The aim of this group is to:
    • identify knowledge gaps and priority research areas
    • inform how eDNA methods can be used by various end users
  • Communication working group: The communication group is led by Helen Barclay & Maarten De Brauwer and aims to:
    • develop the voice of the Southern eDNA Society
    • increase the understanding and applications of eDNA in the wider public.

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