Environmental DNA (e-DNA) is an efficient and non-invasive new way to sample organisms, and it is revolutionizing biodiversity monitoring in Canada. eDNA is DNA extracted from environmental samples, like water and soil, without having to isolate the target organisms. Current biodiversity monitoring relies on visual surveying to identify species, which requires expensive, labour-intensive sampling that is, invasive to the species and unsafe for the ecosystem.
The Parliamentary Secretary Terry Duguid, Member of Parliament for Winnipeg South, on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD), announced an investment of $1,126,800 towards the University of ManitobaCentre for Oil and Gas Research and Development (COGRAD) to establish an environmental DNA (e-DNA) laboratory. The eDNA lab will be a natural extension of COGRAD's unique service offering to the oil and gas industry in Canada as an internationally recognized environmental monitoring and remediation facility.
Through this investment, the University will purchase and install highly specialized equipment that will enable COGRAD to offer novel, efficient, and customized e-DNA techniques for the biodiversity monitoring of fish habitats during mining activities and increase environmentally sustainable energy production in the oil and gas industry. This investment will promote innovation, skills development, and growth in the oil and gas industry across Canada and result in the creation of 14 jobs.
Canada's Innovation and Skills Plan aims to build an economy in which Canadians have access to high-quality jobs and Canadian businesses are well-placed to participate in a rapidly evolving and competitive global marketplace.
"This funding will allow COGRAD to combine a unique strategy, in-depth water quality assessment with eDNA metabarcoding technology. This will be used to measure fish species assemblage and will expand our studies to explore caribou migration in the Baker Lake area. Our approach addresses urgent questions about the impact of climate change and the impact of industry activities on Inuit people in the Canadian Arctic." - Dr. Jorge Stetefeld, Canada Research Chair in Structural Biology and Biophysics, Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, University of Manitoba