Using DNA to distinguish between faeces of Dugong dugon and Chelonia mydas: Non‑invasive sampling for IUCN‑listed marine megafauna

Samantha Tol, M. Harrison, Rachel Groom, Jennie Gilbert, David P. Blair, Rob Coles, Brad Congdon

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The Dugong dugon (dugong) and Chelonia mydas (green sea turtle) are economically and culturally significant marine mega-herbivores whose populations are declining globally. Capture of these animals for study is challenging and stressful for the animals. Ecological questions can be answered using faeces, which can be collected floating on the water’s surface. However, green turtle and dugong faeces are visually indistinguishable. Specific PCR primer pairs were developed based on the mitochondrial control region of each species. We were able to determine species of origin using DNA extracted, amplified and sequenced from faeces. This provides a valuable tool for non-invasive taxonomic identification to assist the conservation of these vulnerable and endangered species.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)115-117
    Number of pages3
    JournalConservation Genetics Resources
    Early online date5 Jan 2021
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


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