Heba Mohamad, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster

Assessing the diatom diversity for water quality evaluation in the Euphrates-Tigris-Catchment area using eDNA Metabarcoding and classical microscopical analysis

The purpose of this project is to introduce advanced molecular techniques with DNA barcoding, as well as environmental DNA (eDNA) metabarcoding for diatom identification to monitor biodiversity and create a first baseline for future screening of biodiversity in the Euphrat-Tigris-Catchment area. This will allow the assessment of water bodies and their ecosystem services. Thus, providing the prerequisites for the establishment of new means to evaluate water quality. The research focuses on the following three questions:

1. Which diatom species diversity can be found in the Euphrates-Tigris-Area?

2. Which species occur under specific ecological conditions and therefore can be used as indicator-species associated with water quality?

3. Can metabarcoding be applied as an alternative method for the assessment of water quality?