Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton
Geography and Environmental Science

Southampton launches state-of-the-art DNA lab

Published: 11 November 2016
Prof Tony Brown and PhD student
Professor Tony Brown and PhD student Charlotte Clarke preparing samples for analysis

Geography and Environment has launched a new state-of-the-art environmental DNA extraction laboratory.

The lab’s equipment allows a large number of species currently living in a specific environment, to be identified by taking bulk soil, sediment, scat and water samples.

It can also identify species that previously lived in the environment by using ancient samples obtained from sediment cores or permafrost soils.

The equipment extracts short genetic markers from an organism’s DNA and these DNA results are then matched against a database of species.

The first samples processed by the lab were from sediment cores taken near Irish and Scottish crannogs (small man-made islands) to show if cattle lived on the islands and which plants grew around the lakes.

Professor of Physical Geography Tony Brown said: “This new facility is the only one in any Geography Department in the UK, and is part of a breakthrough in studying past environmental change. Molecular methods are revolutionising palaeoecology and this development puts us firmly at the forefront of the science."

Privacy Settings