1. Where can I download the app and barcode reader?
You can download the barcode reader here:
You can access the iNaturalist app here:
You can access our iNaturalist project & guides here:
Project Page: http://www.inaturalist.org/projects/caledna
Amphibian & Reptile Guide: http://www.inaturalist.org/guides/4219
Bird Guide: https://www.inaturalist.org/guides/4217
Fish Guide: http://www.inaturalist.org/guides/4221
Mammal Guide: http://www.inaturalist.org/guides/4218
2. What's in the eDNA kit?
You can find out what's in a CALeDNA kit here:
3. How do I become eligible to get an eDNA kit?
To become eligible to be sent a CALeDNA kit you need to have signed up with CALeDNA, completed the online registration form, the safety training and kit training and got over 85% in the training quiz.
We need people to collect eDNA samples during our BioBlitzes in April and October and during our mini-Blitzes in February and September. But we have projects that you can also participate in year-round. After signing in you will complete a registration form. Along with demographic information the registration form asks you to select UC reserves that you would be interested in visiting and which of our BioBlitzes you would be able to collect on. If you sign up for a BioBlitz, about a month prior to a BioBlitz we will contact you to confirm your availability and organize sending out an eDNA kit. If you would rather participate in a different collection project, we will plan it together by email. The kit can either be sent to the UC reserve that you will collect at or to your home.
Individuals who have already completed the kit training and achieved over 85% will be given priority choice for where they want to go in a BioBlitz.
4. How long will it take my eDNA kit to arrive?
Once we've confirmed your availability we will ship out a CALeDNA kit to either the UC reserve that you intend to visit or your home. The kit will arrive at least a week before the BioBlitz. If you have asked for the kit to be sent to the UC reserve you will collect it from the UC reserve manager when you arrive.
5. How do I store my eDNA kit once it arrives?
Keep the CALeDNA kit somewhere safe and at room temperature.
6. How should I store my eDNA kit after sampling?
Try to send the CALeDNA kit back to us as soon as possible. If you will do this within 1 day of sampling keep the CALeDNA kit somewhere safe, at room temperature and out of direct sunlight. If it will take you a couple of days to send the CALeDNA kit back to us keep it in the refrigerator.
7. How quickly should I send back my eDNA kit?
As quickly as possible. DNA degrades over time and microbial communities can change quickly, especially in novel environments like the collection tube so sending your CALeDNA kit back as quickly as possible is vital. We have included a return mailing postage sticker in with your eDNA kit to expedite this process. If you collected the kit from the UC reserve manager simply return it to him/her. If the kit was sent to your home put it into a mailbox or take it to your local post office.
8. What is the experimental design?
On your hike we will require you to gather a total of 18 samples. These samples will come from 3 separate locations. In the app we’ve marked which 3 locations would be most useful to us. They were chosen because they likely represent different habitat types, due to changes in factors such as elevation, aspect or water availability.
At each location you will pick two sampling sites. Sites where you will collect soil and/or sediment samples, take pictures of and identify flora and fauna, and take soil/sediment measurements using the meters provided in your kit. These sites are your choice. We ask you try to make them about 50m (35-75 paces) apart and, if possible, that they look like different habitat types e.g. sediment (matter that settles under water) to soil, forest to brush, etc.
At each sampling site you will take 3 replicate samples. These samples just need to be near one another, so we have suggested you take them at roughly 1 foot (30 cm) away from the other either in a straight line or forming the points of a triangle (your choice!).
3 - LOCATIONS
2 - SAMPLING SITES PER LOCATION
3 - REPLICATES PER SAMPLING SITE
(just remember 3-2-3)
9. How do I use my eDNA kit?
You'll learn how to use your eDNA kit once you have created a log-in and complete the associated quizzes however, you can look at our kit training here:
10. What are the benefits to becoming a CALeDNA citizen scientist?
CALeDNA citizen scientists are able to order an eDNA kit and participate in collection trips such as a BioBlitz. CALeDNA citizen scientists also obtain access to our CALeDNA forum where you can ask us any questions that you like about the environment, and to our CALeDNA citizen scientist gallery where you can view other CALeDNA scientists collection trip pictures, so you connect with the community of volunteers. Finally, you get to contribute to a large scale conservation project to protect California's natural spaces and inform global conservation strategies, which is a great feeling.
11. What should I take on a sampling trip?
eDNA - DNA deposited by animals, plants and microbes in the environment as they exist/pass through it. For example, it can contain a mixture of skin cells, fur, feces, blood, pollen, and leaves in tiny fragments in soil or sediment. The DNA may still be in the fragments or it may be loose and just chemically bound to soil particles.
Location - One of 3 main areas visited to collect samples. Within each location you will choose 2 sites and take 3 replicate samples at each site.
Replicate - One of multiple samples taken at a single site. We take multiple samples at the same site because obtaining DNA from a single species in multiple replicates provides stronger evidence of presence than a single sample which may have been accidentally contaminated.
Sample - Soil or sediment collected in the field and sent back to CALeDNA for genetic analyses.
Sediment - Organic matter and sand, silt, or clay that settles below the water.
Site - Area within a location where samples are collected. There are two sites per location and 3 samples taken per site.
Soil - A mixture of organic matter, minerals, gases, liquid and organisms that supports life on earth. We want you to take samples of surface soil so no digging is required.