Dr Hänfling says: “Using this new method we can accurately describe whole fish communities in a body of water and get a measure of the abundance of fish species.
“By specifically tracking the indicator species that are sensitive to water conditions, we can also carefully monitor water quality and the health of aquatic environments.
“This has significant implications for fish ecology and management and we’re very excited to be discussing these issues with experts and policy makers from around the world.”
The theme of the symposium is “Advances in eDNA-based approaches to Fish Ecology and Management” and features more than 80 presentations over the four days to explore the opportunities of how the research can be implemented.
It is the first full conference dedicated to this new field and aims to ensure researchers, stakeholders and policymakers are able to work closely together to help improve water conditions and fish health.
Dr Lawson Handley adds: “When we started planning the conference, we were worried it was going to be too specialised but we needn’t have worried. The response has been impressive and by bringing people together from all over the world, we hope to transform research into policy.
“The UK Government has already started to test this system to understand the health of lakes across the country and it could soon be adopted nationally. We believe this has significant benefits and this symposium will allow us to share exciting new developments with the rest of the world, helping to improve water conditions, manage fish stocks and restore environments.”