Available translations: English


Scientists will take advantage of the latest technologies to combine DNA and environmental data to improve our understanding of how various organisms, their functions and genes vary in different terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems.

The UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (UKCEH) will analyse DNA sequence data from soil and water samples from hundreds of different ecosystems across the country. They will search for DNA of fungi, microbes such as bacteria, viruses and archaea (which are important in carbon and nitrogen cycling), as well plants and animals. 

The identity of species, their locations, habitats, soil type and chemical properties will then be included in a new cloud-based platform that will be open and free for researchers to access.

The collective information will enable scientists to better understand how various organisms maintain ecosystem functions which in turn play key roles in the larger context of global biogeochemical cycling.

The work is being funded by a Digital Research Infrastructure grant from the Natural Environment Research Council.

Professor Gordon Blair, Head of Environmental Digital Strategy at UKCEH, said: “This project is very exciting, with huge potential. It will use environmental DNA data to increase our understanding of the distribution of species and genes in the environment and how they correlate with environmental factors.”