Environmental-DNA and metabarcoding

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General information

Environmental-DNA and metabarcoding: Understanding aquatic biodiversity

Environmental DNA (eDNA) coupled with metabarcoding represents a powerful tool to investigate ecosystem complexity and reveal hidden biodiversity. This novel approach is revolutionising the way we assess and monitor aquatic ecosystems.
This course will provide the students with the basic knowledge and skills required to apply the eDNA metabarcoding approach in aquatic environments. The course program includes a combination of lectures, field activities, lab-work and data analysis to provide the students with a thorough understanding of the use of eDNA in molecular ecology, with hands-on experience.
This program is aimed to postgraduate students (masters and PhD students), postdoctoral and early-career researchers.
The course will be held on the scenic island of Ortigia, the historic centre of Siracusa in Sicily, Italy.

  • What is eDNA. The role and usefulness of eDNA for the study of aquatic biodiversity. Application of eDNA.
  • Sampling methods and strategies. Sample storage, transport and processing.
  • Analysis of samples: extraction of DNA. Choice of primers, species-specific vs multispecies approaches. Metabarcoding. PCR-free approaches.
  • eDNA metabarcoding: library preparation and sequencing.
  • eDNA metabarcoding: bioinformatics.
  • Down-stream ecological analysis.
  • Powers and pitfalls of eDNA. The Future of eDNA.
Contact Person: SCIE center (info@sciecenter.org)


The highlighted icons, represent the fields of education (in compliance with ISCED Classification) engaged during this course/programme.

0511 - Biology", "0512 - Biotechnology", "0688 - Bioinformatics


Venue: SCIE Center, Palazzo Francica Nava
Siracusa, Italy



Fee per student € 1290
Course fee includes:
• Accommodation in B&B within walking distance of center, shared rooms, en-suite bathroom, breakfast included
• Welcome and Farewell dinners
• Orientation and Ortigia tour
• Classroom space at SCIE Center, including computer, screen and whiteboard
• Use of laboratory facilities
• Internet service at the SCIE Centre during opening hours and limited printing service
• Transport to field work site
• Refreshments
• General liability Insurance
• Certificate of participation
• Tuition
• SCIE Center 24 hour support

Course fee does not include:
• Travel to/from Sicily
• Transport from/to Catania airport
● Meals with the exception of those listed above
● Personal expenses
● Internet service outside of SCIE Center opening hours
● Passport or visa fees
● In-country travel not outlined in Program Schedule


Participants are expected to be enrolled in a post-graduate research program in the general fields of molecular ecology, marine and environmental sciences, and conservation biology. Early-postdoctoral researchers are also encouraged to apply.
Basic knowledge of the R environment is desirable but not essential.

Application Procedure:

To apply send a letter of support from your academic supervisor and a half page letter of intention detailing your research interests and experience and how you would envisage employing eDNA in your current or future project.


Academic level: Master, PhD, Lifelong Learning
Occupations (not validated):
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