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Jakob Löndahl

Jakob Löndahl

Associate Professor / Senior Lecturer

Jakob Löndahl

Airborne environmental DNA metabarcoding for the monitoring of terrestrial insects—A proof of concept from the field


  • Fabian Roger
  • Hamid R. Ghanavi
  • Natalie Danielsson
  • Niklas Wahlberg
  • Jakob Löndahl
  • Lars B. Pettersson
  • Georg K.S. Andersson
  • Niklas Boke Olén
  • Yann Clough

Summary, in English

Biodiversity is in decline due to human-induced pressures on ecosystems around the world. To be able to counteract this alarming trend, it is paramount to closely monitor biodiversity at global scales. Because this is practically impossible with traditional methods, the last decade has seen a strong push for new solutions. In aquatic ecosystems, the monitoring of species from environmental DNA (eDNA) has emerged as one of the most powerful tools at our disposal, but in terrestrial ecosystems, the power of eDNA for monitoring has so far been hampered by the local scale of the samples. In this study, we report the successful detection of insects from airborne eDNA from samples taken in the field. We compare our results to two traditional insect monitoring methods (1) light traps for moth monitoring and (2) transect walks for the monitoring of butterflies and wild bees. Airborne eDNA metabarcoding revealed DNA from six classes of arthropods, and twelve order of insects—including representatives from the four largest orders: Diptera (flies), Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths), Coleoptera (beetles), and Hymenoptera (bees, wasps, and ants). We did not detect all species observed using traditional methods and suggest further directions for the development of airborne eDNA metabarcoding. We also recovered DNA from nine species of vertebrates, including frogs, birds, and mammals as well as from 12 other phyla. Airborne eDNA has the potential to become a powerful tool for terrestrial biodiversity monitoring, with many impactful applications including the monitoring of pests, invasive, or endangered species and disease vectors.


  • Biodiversity and Conservation Science
  • Biodiversity
  • BECC: Biodiversity and Ecosystem services in a Changing Climate
  • Centre for Environmental and Climate Science (CEC)
  • Functional zoology
  • Systematic Biology Group
  • Biological Museum
  • Ergonomics and Aerosol Technology
  • MERGE: ModElling the Regional and Global Earth system
  • CAnMove - Centre for Animal Movement Research

Publishing year







Environmental DNA





Document type

Journal article




  • Zoology
  • Environmental Sciences


  • aerosols
  • biodiversity
  • DNA barcoding
  • environmental DNA
  • Insecta




  • Biodiversity is in the air - metabarcoding of airborne e DNA for the biodiversity monitoring of flying insects

Research group

  • Biodiversity and Conservation Science
  • Systematic Biology Group
  • CAnMove - Centre for Animal Movement Research


  • ISSN: 2637-4943