MekongDNA: Scope of the project

This project aims to use metabarcoding to assess taxonomic richness and abundance of microorganisms and their related ecological communities in the Lancang-Mekong River. The metabarcoding methods will be used to analyze the microbial community (or microbiome) composition at three different areas of the Lancang-Mekong River: the upstream of the river in China, the central part of the river in Thailand, and the downstream area in Vietnam before entering the South China Sea. The data and analysis results will contribute to an establishment of biodiversity knowledgebase and new ecological molecular indices for Mekong river ecosystem.

Essentially the success of the project is based on a collaboration between governmental sector, academic scientists, and citizen-scientists living in the Lancang-Mekong basin. The project will all set up the “ Citizen Science” program to raise awareness of science-driven and ecologically-sustainable conservation of Mekong biodiversity.

The project objectives

To develop a panel of bioindicators based on microbial communities for monitoring of water quality in Lancang-Mekong River, using the molecular approach and DNA metabarcoding.

To raise awareness and engagement of water resource conservation through the volunteer monitoring program (citizen-biomonitoring).

To gain knowledge in the potential microbial communities for bioremediation in river ecosystems.

To build scientific capacity for molecular-based biomonitoring of freshwater samples among Chinese and ASEAN participants.