Session 7.8: DNA based biodiversity assessments – a new perspective on ecological water quality
Our natural environment provides humanity with indispensable ecosystem services, like clean, good quality water and fertile soils. As a matter of course, we have to make use of them in a sustainable manner. For this purpose, we need a reliable understanding of ecosystem functioning and the condition of ecosystems, with sound indicators of ecological processes and biodiversity. Current methods for biomonitoring demand specialist knowledge and are labor intensive, costly, incomplete and sensitive to errors. Genetically based biomonitoring and assessment is developing rapidly and may tackle these issues. This opens up new windows on species groups and ecosystem dynamics which in part till now could hardly be investigated otherwise. The new tools in principle provide an unprecedented resolution both in space and time. All of this contributes to a more sustainable management of our living environment. The Netherlands Center for Genetic Biodiversity Assessments aims to support policy makers and environmental managers with sound fundamental and applied knowledge, advice and high quality tools. Various examples will be presented by the partner organizations (60-70 minutes, including short discussion of each presentation). This is followed by a general discussion of 20-30 minutes during which the audience will be challenged using several statements. Remarks and questions will be summarized across main stakeholder groups present. In this way, we aim to increase understanding of the potential of and the need for genetic biodiversity assessments.