All animals shed cells containing their DNA, and (sort of amazingly) we can use this genetic information to survey whole ecological communities.  We aim to move these techniques toward being quantitative tools for ecology, conservation biology, and management.



Kelly, R.P., A.O. Shelton, and R. Gallego. 2019. Understanding PCR Processes to Draw Meaningful Conclusions from Environmental DNA Studies (formerly: Understanding eDNA.) (In press, Scientific Reports). [Supplemental Info here].

Shelton, A.O., R.P. Kelly, J.L. O'Donnell, L. Park, P. Schwenke, C. Greene, R.A. Henderson, and E.M. Beamer. Environmental DNA provides quantitative estimates of a threatened salmon species. Biological Conservation 237 (2019): 383-391.

Kelly, R.P., R. Gallego, and E. Jacobs-Palmer. 2018. The Effect of Tides on Nearshore Environmental DNA. PeerJ: 6:e4521.


Tillotson, M.D., R.P. Kelly, J.J. Duda, M. Hoy, J. Kralj, and T.P. Quinn. 2018. Concentrations of Environmental DNA (eDNA) Reflect Spawning Salmon Abundance at Fine Spatial and Temporal Scales. Biological Conservation 220:1-11.


O’Donnell, J.L., R.P. Kelly, A.O. Shelton, J.F. Samhouri, N.C. Lowell, G.D. Williams. 2017. Spatial Distribution of Environmental DNA in a Nearshore Marine Habitat. PeerJ 5:e3044


Kelly, R.P.,  C.J. Closek, J.L. O’Donnell, J.E. Kralj, A.O. Shelton, and J.F. Samhouri. 2017. Genetic and Manual Survey Methods Yield Different and Complementary Views of an Ecosystem. Frontiers in Marine Science 3:283.


Kelly, R.P.,  J.L. O’Donnell, N.C. Lowell, A.O. Shelton, J.F. Samhouri, S.M. Hennessey, B.E. Feist, and G.D. Williams. 2016. Genetic Signatures of Ecological Diversity Along an Urbanization Gradient. PeerJ 4:e2444.


Kelly, R.P. 2016. Making Environmental DNA Count. Molecular Ecology Resources 16: 10-12.


J.L. O'Donnell, R.P. Kelly, N. Lowell, and J.A. Port. 2016. Indexed PCR Primers Induce Template-Specific Bias in Large-Scale DNA Sequencing Studies.11(3): e0148698. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0148698.


Port, J.A., J.L. O'Donnell, O. Romero-Maraccini, P.R. Leary, S.Y. Litvin, K.J. Nickols, and R.P. Kelly (2016, Molecular Ecology), Assessing Vertebrate Biodiversity of a Kelp Forest Ecosystem Using Environmental DNA.


Shelton, A.O., J. L. O'Donnell, J.F. Samhouri, N. Lowell, G.D. Williams, and R.P. Kelly. 2016. A Framework for Inferring Biological Communities from Environmental DNA. 26: 1645-1659.


Kelly, R.P., J.A. Port, K.M. Yamahara, R.G. Martone, N. Lowell, P.F. Thomsen, M.E. Mach, E. Prahler, M.R. Caldwell, and L.B. Crowder. 2014. Harnessing DNA to Improve Environmental Management, Science 344 (6191): 1455-1456. doi:10.1126/science.1251156


Kelly, R.P., J.A. Port, K.M. Yamahara, and L. Crowder.  2014.  Using Environmental DNA to Census Marine Fishes in a Large Mesocosm.  PLoS ONE 9(1): e86175. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0086175.


Kelly, R.P.  2014. Will More, Better, Cheaper, and Faster Monitoring Improve Environmental Management? 44 Environmental Law 1111.



Follow-up eDNA work now underway in the field in Monterey Bay, Puget Sound, and elsewhere.


Project funded by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation