DNA (Working Group)

Celebrating 10 years of the UKEOF UKDNA Working Group

  • UKDNA-WG Chair: Andy Nisbet (Natural England)
  • Secretariat Lead: Dan Read
  • Take a look at the resources produced by the DNA Working Group.

Annual UKDNA WG conference

The UKDNA Working Group will hold its annual conference from 25-26 April in Inverness. Abstract submission is open (deadline 29 February) and registration will open soon. Join the dedicated UKDNA WG mailing list to stay informed.

DNA has a range of potentially valuable applications in environmental monitoring, from detecting rare or invasive species through to characterising whole communities. This provides major opportunities to improve both the comprehensiveness and the efficiency of monitoring. Because the technology is evolving rapidly, translating this potential into practice requires good links between researchers and end-users in government and other organisations.

The UKEOF, through the UK DNA Working Group (UKDNA-WG), facilitates dialogue and collaboration by providing a forum for the wide community of government agencies, academics and other stakeholders to discuss priorities and emerging developments in the use of DNA for environmental monitoring.

Want to find out about UKDNA-WG activities?

To be informed about forthcoming UKDNA-WG events and other activities, we recommend that you subscribe to this dedicated mailing list.


The DNA Working Group will:

  1. Link researchers, developers of DNA-based monitoring methods, and end users to ensure that activities are focussed on meeting priority information needs and that knowledge is transferred effectively within the wider community
  2. Support and encourage best practice and the development of standards for using DNA-based species monitoring methods
  3. Engage and work collaboratively with others nationally and internationally, seeking opportunities to influence research, share best practice and facilitate re-use of samples and data
  4. Increase awareness of where and how DNA-based methods can help improve the effectiveness of environmental monitoring.

UKDNA-WG structure

The diagram below shows the structure of the UKDNA-WG.

UK DNA WG structure diagram

The Working Group is managed by the UKDNA Steering Committee, which in turn is guided by the UKEOF Management Group. The UKDNA-WG chair (Andy Nisbet of Natural England) sits on the UKEOF Management Group.

The UKDNA-WG engages the wider community (or UKDNA network) on areas of work or planned events. The wider UK DNA Network receives correspondence on upcoming events and activities as well as the opportunity to feedback ideas and suggestions.

The UK DNA End Users Group is a subset of the UK DNA Working Group involving representatives of UK environmental and conservation agencies.

Annual conferences

The UKDNA-WG has held an annual conference since 2014. Programmes from past UKDNA-WG conferences are available below:


  • Handley, L. L., et al (2023). UK DNA working group eDNA week, January 2022Environmental DNA518– 24https://doi.org/10.1002/edn3.364
  • Harper, R.L. et al (2019). Prospects and challenges of environmental DNA (eDNA) monitoring in freshwater ponds. Hydrobiologia 826(1), 25-41. DOI: 10.1007/s10750-018-3750-5


If you would like to get involved or find out more information please contact the secretariat on office@ukeof.org.uk.

Current UKDNA-WG steering committee:

  • Nadia Barsoum – Forest Research
  • Colin Bean – NatureScot
  • Kat Bruce – NatureMetrics
  • Simon Creer – Bangor University
  • Phil Davison – Cefas
  • Alistair Duguid – Scottish Environment Protection Agency
  • Bernd Hänfling – University of Highlands and Islands
  • Helen Hipperson – Sheffield
  • Emma Keenan – Natural Resources Wales
  • Lori Lawson Handley – University of Hull
  • Debbie Leatherland – Natural England
  • Stefano Mariani – Liverpool John Moores University
  • Iveta Matejusova – Marine Scotland Science
  • Andrew Nisbet – Natural England
  • Ben Price – Natural History Museum
  • Daniel Read – UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
  • Laia Rovira-Craven – Scottish Environment Protection Agency
  • Kerry Walsh – Environment Agency
  • Jono Warren – Environment Agency 
  • Paul Woodcock – JNCC

Terms of Reference

UK DNA-WG Terms of Reference

UK DNA-WG Steering Committee Terms of Reference