Environmental DNA concentrations are correlated with regional biomass of Atlantic cod in oceanic waters

Ian Salter, Mourits Joensen, Regin Kristiansen, Petur Steingrund, Poul Vestergaard

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78 Citations (Scopus)


Environmental DNA (eDNA) has emerged as a powerful approach for studying marine fisheries and has the potential to negate some of the drawbacks of trawl surveys. However, successful applications in oceanic waters have to date been largely focused on qualitative descriptions of species inventories. Here we conducted a quantitative eDNA survey of Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) in oceanic waters and compared it with results obtained from a standardized demersal trawl survey. Detection of eDNA originating from Atlantic cod was highly concordant (80%) with trawl catches. We observed significantly positive correlations between the regional integrals of Atlantic cod biomass (kg) and eDNA quantities (copies) (R2 = 0.79, P = 0.003) and between sampling effort-normalised Catch Per Unit Effort (kg hr−1) and eDNA concentrations (copies L−1) (R2 = 0.71, P = 0.008). These findings extend the potential application of environmental DNA to regional biomass assessments of commercially important fish stocks in the ocean
Original languageEnglish
Article number461 (2019)
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalCommunications Biology
Publication statusPublished - 10 Dec 2019


  • Biogeography
  • Chemical Oceanography
  • Ecology
  • Ecosystem Ecology
  • Environmental DNA
  • Conservation Biology
  • Ecosystem Services


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