open calls

Biomonitoring of aquatic environments in the Amazon using environmental DNA


Traditional biomonitoring of aquatic ecosystems is time-consuming, expensive and requires extensive taxonomical knowledge. DNA-based monitoring does not have these disadvantages, but an extensive database of DNA sequences of all target species is needed. In this project, such a database will be developed for macro-invertebrates, fish and amphibians of the Ecuadorian Amazon region, which is one of the most diverse, but also endangered area of Ecuador, a DNA-based monitoring technique using Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) will be developed. NGS can give a broader and more complete view of the sampled ecosystem and indicate the presence of invasive species or ecosystem disturbances in early stages. Our NGS monitoring results will be compared to, and validated with classical, catch-based monitoring. Furthermore, migratory fish will be tagged and their arrival in the study-area will be detected via telemetry. Finally, this project will extensively build capacity at both IKIAM as ESPOL. Biodiversity studies will become very efficient and cost-effective enabling more frequent monitoring

Intervention type

South Initiatives


01/01/2018 - 31/12/2019

This project is being implemented in:
Flemish promoter Christine Van der Heyden
Local promoter Jorge Celi
Local partner institution Hogeschool Gent
Local partner institution Universidad Regional Amazónica IKIAM
Other Flemish Partners KU Leuven
Universiteit Antwerpen
Universiteit Gent
Provinciaal Centrum voor Milieuonderzoek
Other local partners Escuela Superior Politécnica del Litoral
Budget € 69.959