Biodiversity change in Sahul inferred from ancient sedimentary DNA (APSF 19035)

By 03/03/2019Current Projects
APSF 19035 | Amount: $42,000 | Project Leader: M de Bruyn | Project Period:

A project undertaken at The University of Sydney, and supervised by Mark de Bruyn

In the last ten years, the DNA sequencing revolution has provided high-throughput tools to recover taxonomic records (“DNA barcodes”), even down to the species-level, directly from environmental samples – so-called ‘environmental (e)DNA’.

More recently, researchers have used the power of eDNA to access information from ancient samples from the northern hemisphere, providing exceptionally detailed records of plant and animal change in relation to both climate change and human impacts. I propose to uncover a one hundred and thirty thousand-year genetic timeline of plant and animal change in Sahul for the first time, by using ancient eDNA to identify animals and plants from dated sediment
layers in the palaeo-Lake Carpentaria region. The expected benefits of the project include important new insights into what caused major changes to Australia’s biodiversity, and a new high-resolution biodiversity baseline for understanding the effects of ongoing and future environmental change.