Great Crested Newt eDNA Survey – Thames Water

Now closed for the year – Environmental DNA survey for Great Crested Newts in your local area.Great Crested Newt

Closed for the year

Last spring spring volunteers undertook the first Thames Region survey of Great Crested Newts using environmental DNA (eDNA) surveys. Great Crested Newts have a secretive nocturnal life style, which, in the past, has presented a challenge for those trying to find out which ponds are important. Thanks to eDNA, it’s possible to find this out simply using a water sample which is analysed in a lab for any residual DNA that may have been left by the newts.

In aquatic environments eDNA is left by plants and animals through shed cells and excretions. It can persist for several weeks and sampling it allows us to identify species living in the water easily and reliably. In the case of Great Crested Newts this means no more stumbling around in the dark with torches unless you really want to.

The kits are currently being analysed by SPYGEN and the result will be available this coming winter.

The Survey

The survey is open to all levels of ability and no previous experience is needed. You can learn everything you’ll need to know from the materials below and our short training video (coming soon).


  • The eDNA kits and survey materials will be delivered you to by your regional officer.
  • Use the supplied site pack to locate your allocated 1km grid square.
  • Collect a water sample using an eDNA kits from each pond in your allocated 1km grid square.
  • Fill out a eDNA survey form and habitat survey form. (an average sized pond will take around 1 hour to sample and an extra 30 minutes to fill out the habitat survey form).
  • Give your eDNA kits back to your regional officer.
  • Your samples will be couriered to France to be analysed for Great Crested Newt DNA by SpyGen, international leaders in the field of eDNA.
  • We’ll email the results to everyone in September.
Survey materials:


2016 Thames Water  for Wildlife Survey Sites

eDNA Survey Site Map

The Thames Region eDNA surveys are funded by Thames Water, the Heritage Lottery Fund and Natural England. All water sample analysis will be undertaken by the French genetics specialists SPYGEN.

naturalenglandHLF useThames Water Logo