Some of you might have heard about the EU-COST Action DNAqua-Net. It is based on a fundamental problem in morpho-taxonomic approaches of aquatic biodiversity assessment and monitoring. These have many drawbacks such as being time consuming, limited in temporal and spatial resolution, and error-prone due to variation of individual taxonomic expertise of analysts. Novel genomic tools could circumvent many of the aforementioned problems and thereby complement traditional strategies. Yet, a plethora of protocols are independently developed in different institutions, thereby hampering any concerted routine application.
DNAqua-Net brings together researchers across disciplines in order to identify gold-standard genomic tools (aka barcodes) and novel eco-genomic indices and metrics for routine application for biodiversity assessments and biomonitoring of European water bodies. Furthermore, DNAqua-Net will provide a platform for training of the coming generation of researchers preparing them for the new technologies. Jointly with water managers, politicians and other stakeholders, the group will develop a conceptual framework for the standard application of eco-genomic tools as part of legally binding assessments, and here we are talking about things like the EU-Water Framework Directive and the Marine Strategy Framework Directive.
I am a co-proposer of the project and representative for Canada. The project's core focus is of course the EU but the project leads wanted to ensure that their efforts are embedded in the international community. After all we are talking about a shift in the way we do biomonitoring in general.
The project is only a few months old, the kick-off conference will happen in March but the group is already very active. Together with Pensoft Publishers the team is planning to launch a new journal, named Metabarcoding and Metagenomics. The journal would feature a set of tailored publication types to address the needs of the community. The hope is that it will serve as a community-organizing focal point far beyond the scope and duration of the DNAqua-Net project.
In order to turn this idea into a perfect fit for the needs of the metabarcoding and metagenomic community, the team is currently soliciting opinions on the features that they envision.
They would greatly appreciate if you take a few minutes for a short Questionnaire to provide them with your feedback and ideas.