eDNA testing for Great Crested Newts
Last year eDNA testing kits were made available for the first time to test for the presence of Great Crested Newts (GCN) in ponds. The procedure had been trialed in several European countries for a range of species: the GCN, European Weatherfish, Common Spadefoot toad. The technique involves taking water samples from ponds and testing for traces of the species DNA in the water. GCN DNA in water degrades within 20 days, so a positive result shows that the species has been present recently.
|Danial Winchester, Surrey Wildlife Trust|
This month, several ponds in sout-west London were tested by members of the Surrey Wildlife Trust who have been trained to take the samples. This includes ponds in Richmond and Bushy Park as well as a pond in LB Merton. It is necessary to book a slot for analysis with University of Loughborough. We await the results. While we were looking we found some smooth newts (pictured below).