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The power of environmental DNA for enhancing conservation and biosecurity in Aotearoa New Zealand

July 28, 2023 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm


Dr Shaun Wilkinson, CEO Wilderlab

High-throughput DNA sequencing technologies make it possible to survey entire biological communities with as little as a single cup of water. The commercialization of environmental DNA (eDNA) has vastly improved the accessibility and accuracy of this technology. In Aotearoa New Zealand, eDNA monitoring is being implemented by multiple organizations from community science groups to central government agencies, with applications spanning biosecurity, threatened species monitoring, biodiversity assessments and ecological health evaluation. As its popularity increases, we are seeing more examples of eDNA having positive, tangible outcomes for conservation and biosecurity. In this seminar, I will give an overview of the issues being tackled by eDNA in Aotearoa and consider where to next for this exciting technology.

Dr. Shaun Wilkinson is the founder and CEO of Wilderlab, a multi-award-winning Wellington start-up specializing in eDNA sequencing and analytics. As a former Rutherford Foundation Postdoctoral Research Fellow (University of Wellington) and current Adjunct Associate Professor at Curtin University, Shaun’s research focuses on developing robust machine learning models, statistical software and eDNA field collection methods for optimizing eDNA performance across a range of environment types. Since launching Wilderlab in 2019, Shaun has grown the company from a solo venture to a thriving team of 20 with a dominant market position in Aotearoa and a rapid uptake in international business.


July 28, 2023
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm


Presbyterian Community Centre
94 Tenby Street
Wanaka, New Zealand
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