Problem addressed

Understanding and reporting on nature can be challenging and complex. However, it is crucial for actors in the built environment to understand biodiversity and nature in order to gain insights into the species that exist within and around cities and urban areas. This is essential for both assessing and reporting on the potential impacts of urban developments on nature and biodiversity.

Solution overview

NatureMetrics offers quick, simple, and effective monitoring of nature to enable projects to identify early on in a project what steps might need to be taken to avoid and mitigate biodiversity impacts. Its DNA based monitoring enables environmental impact assessment and monitoring of nature-based mitigation and remediation.

The eDNA technology allows users to identify groups of species or single species. Customers can order their required species tests, collect their sample, and then return it to NatureMetrics to receive a report on the results, which is presented on their nature intelligence platform.

Metrics included in NatureMetrics’ standard eDNA reports include:

  • Species Richness
  • IUCN Threatened Species
  • Bacterial Functional Diversity
  • Invasive Species
  • Evolutionary Diversity
  • Fungal Functional Diversity

As NatureMetrics helps customers better understand their biodiversity data, they are able to identify risks associated with their projects so their customers can implement effective measures to mitigate them.

Case study

Uncovering the recovering biodiversity along the Sussex coast

In March 2021, the Sussex Nearshore Trawling Bylaw was introduced, banning trawling along the Sussex coastline in the hope that over time, the kelp forest ecosystem that used to thrive in these waters would recover.

Traditional survey methods including baited remote underwater video (BRUVs) are expensive and labour-intensive, so the University of Sussex wanted to compare this traditional method to NatureMetrics’ eDNA metabarcoding service to monitor biodiversity recovery inside the trawling exclusion zone over multiple years.

The University of Sussex chose to work with NatureMetrics metabarcoding service for the multi-year project as the surveying method is easily replicable and the simple sampling procedure meant sampling could be conducted by students.

An analysis of the project revealed that NatureMetrics’ eDNA solution detected three times as many marine vertebrate species along the Sussex coast compared to traditional baited remote underwater video surveys.

Furthermore, the analysis compared the effort required for both methods. Visual surveys, including fieldwork and data processing, demanded an extensive total effort of 7 hours per survey site, equivalent to 8 hours for each species detected. In contrast, utilizing NatureMetrics’ eDNA service significantly reduced the effort to only 25 minutes per survey site or 1.25 minutes per species detected. These time savings highlight the efficiency and cost-effectiveness offered by eDNA technology.

Facts and Figures

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