Fisheries operations in Skagerrak. Photo: Paulina Urban

PhD defence on practical implementations of the eDNA concept for monitoring marine resources and biodiversity

Wednesday 27 Mar 24


Paulina Urban
PhD student
DTU Aqua
+45 53 33 48 68


Einar Eg Nielsen
DTU Aqua
+45 35 88 31 15


This PhD was funded by the “DNAMIX” project supported by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and the Danish Fisheries Agency and by the “ECOTIP” project supported by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

On 5 April 2024, Paulina Urban will defend her PhD thesis. The defence can be followed online or attended in person at DTU in Silkeborg.

Monitoring marine resources and biodiversity to ensure healthy and productive oceans requires cost- and time-efficient methods. At the forefront of new and innovative monitoring technologies is environmental DNA (eDNA).

All species release DNA into their surroundings (water, soil, air), from which it can be collected and analyzed. Thus, the environmental pool of eDNA can be used to identify the species present, without any direct physical or visual evidence. So far, the method has primarily been used to describe the biodiversity, track rare, endangered, or invasive species and to assess the distribution of key ecosystem or fisheries species.

During her PhD studies at DTU Aqua, Paulina Urban has investigated the possibility of expanding and optimizing the use of eDNA-based methods in practical ecosystem monitoring and fisheries. She has specifically worked on applying eDNA analyses to measure bycatch in pelagic fisheries, among other things. The results show that eDNA is highly suitable for this purpose and provides very precise results, which has not been described before in the scientific literature.

Paulina Urban points out that the results provide a strong basis for implementing eDNA analyses as a general tool in the fisheries industry, and that they can also be used for monitoring protected, endangered, and threatened species such as sharks, rays, and seabirds in fishery catches. Furthermore, she predicts that eDNA could eventually be developed to identify the population affiliation of the fish in the catch. 

About the defence

Paulina Urban will defend her PhD thesis, Practical implementations of the eDNA concept for marine resources monitoring, on Friday, 5 April 2024, at 13:00. 

The defence can be followed online or at DTU, Silkeborg (please find details below).


  • Senior Researcher Stefan Neuenfeldt, DTU Aqua (chair)
  • Professor Reinhold Hanel, Thünen Institute of Fisheries Ecology, Germany
  • Associate Professor Kristine Bohmann, Globe Institute, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Chairperson at defence

  • Associate Professor Christian Skov, DTU Aqua


  • Principal supervisor: Professor Einar Eg Nielsen, DTU Aqua
  • Co-supervisor: Senior Researcher Dorte Bekkevold, DTU Aqua
Learn more

A copy of the thesis is available for reading at DTU Aqua. Please contact PhD Coordinator Susan Zumbach Johannesen, 

How to attend the defence

In person

Everybody is welcome to attend Paulina Urban's PhD defence at DTU, Vejlsøvej 39, 8600 Silkeborg.



The defence can be followed on Teams using this link
Please, enter the meeting 10 minutes prior to the defence proceedings are scheduled to start. All participants are muted per default, but we ask you to double check that your microphone is turned off at all times. 



Friday, 5 April 2024 at 13:00.