Environmental DNA (eDNA) is the DNA released into the environment (e.g. a pond) by an organism. For example, when a fish moves through a body of water, it constantly sheds dead skin cells, mucus or faeces into its surroundings. This eDNA can be detected from water samples using extremely sensitive qPCR laboratory analysis techniques, indicating whether a target organism has been present (or is likely to have been absent).

Aquatic eDNA is fast becoming an established tool for monitoring amphibians, fish and other wildlife and Crestwood Environmental has been undertaking such work commercially (for great crested newt, Triturus cristatus) for a number of years and has delivered consistent and conclusive results.

In 2021 Crestwood Environmental has started working closely with technical experts NatureMetrics (a DNA based monitoring company) to build on this knowledge and expertise to provide an ever-increasing quality and breadth of service.

Sampling can be carried out by one of Crestwood’s licensed ecologists (a perquisite for assessing water samples for great crested newt) and the lab analysis strictly follows the protocol stipulated by Natural England (link here), ensuring reliable and accurate results. It is advised that prior to ordering eDNA analysis, that you read the DEFRA technical advice note WC1067 (Link here) that details the development of and protocol for eDNA sampling for great crested newts.

eDNA assays are constantly being developed for different species and are currently available for:

  • Great Crested Newts
  • White Clawed Crayfish
  • Crayfish Plague*
  • Signal Crayfish
  • Otter
  • Zebra Mussel
  • Chytrid Fungus**


If you would like to contact us about our eDNA sampling and analysis undertaking for target species please email us at ecology@crestwoodenvironmental.co.uk or call 01902 229 563 (Nick Masters).
If you wish to order sampling kits and analysis for your own use, please order your kits here.
In addition to target species eDNA analyses metabarcoding is also available.
For information on Crestwood’s ecology surveys, including other survey services, please click here.