Nepal Fish Biodiversity Project (NFBP)

Environmental DNA based assessment of Biodiversity and Disease Surveillance: Understanding Aquatic Biodiversity & Developing eDNA technology to detect and monitor fish species as part of designing effective tool for Environmental Impact Assessment. The aquatic ecosystems of Nepal offer excellent habitats for at least 186 indigenous and 11 exotic fish species of high economic, environmental and academic value. Knowledge of these species distribution and ecology are critical to their ecological management and conservation. However, very little is known about native fish and other aquatic organisms in Nepal. Project Overview: NFBP is a two years feasibility research project which aims to develop eDNA technology to build knowledge on the distribution and ecology of native fish in designated Karnali river basins in Western Nepal. NFBP also aims to develop genetic database of fish in Nepal. The project has started collecting fish species of the Karnali river and will be doing morphological and genetic analysis to identify the species. Subsequently, from collected water samples, the project aims to identify species presence using eDNA technology. Goal: Developing DNA based tool for long term monitoring of aquatic biodiversity in Nepal and utilizes for the conservation aspects. Objective: Design and implement a statistically valid sampling design for fish collection. Develop DNA profiles for selected focal species. These species will be identified with the assistance of Nepali and other scientists and experts familiar with native fish. Also, there will be a need to confirm that fish are correctly identified. Perform the eDNA metabarcoding analysis and access the potential of eDNA to increase the knowledge of the distribution and ecology of native fish in Nepal Develop a DNA monitoring standard tool for long-term monitoring of aquatic systems (biodiversity) in Karnali river.