Biodiversity assessments and biomonitoring through environmental DNA (eDNA) metabarcoding holds great promise to many areas of a policy due to its accuracy, higher output yield and speed at delivering results when compared to the traditional biodiversity assessments and monitoring of ecosystems. However, and despite its great potential for a broader analysis of biodiversity, it is still afflicted by key problems that hampered its potential for large scale ecosystem studies and temporal resolution.
Routinely onsite environmental sampling for molecular biodiversity studies is still largely dependent on manpower for sample collection. This task requires considerable time, is laborious and limited in time and geographic coverage. When considering remote or inaccessible areas (e.g., deep sea, hydrothermal vents), long-term biomonitoring or even large-scale ecosystem studies, the costs and human resource demands, can simply be prohibitive for their realistic application.
The development of an autonomous and portable device capable of onsite isolation and preservation of environmental DNA for subsequent molecular analysis would overcome many of the above challenges, greatly reduce the costs, while at the same time providing the most needed standardization for eDNA studies.