Knowledge in

Using environmental DNA
to advance ecological


Diet Reconstruction

We can quantitatively reconstruct the diet of herbivores, omnivores, and certain carnivores. We can reconstruct what plants or invertebrates animals have eaten, and are rapidly expanding our capabilities to other organisms.

Next Generation Sequencing

DNA in fecal material is PCR-amplified and sequenced using the latest Next Generation Sequencing techniques. The sequences are compared to proprietary and public databases and the proportion of the diet that is represented by each species is generated.

Why quantify diet?

The diet of animals determines their ability to grow, fight off disease, and reproduce. Many rare species from birds to bison rely seasonally on unique plant species. Invasive species can displace native species by consuming their preferred plants or animals.


To date we have provided services for academic researchers, hospitals, conservation agencies and federal agencies. We have reconstructed the diets of everything from bison to grasshoppers to prairie chickens.

Pollen sequencing

The pollen of plants contains chloroplast DNA that can be sequenced. We are able to quantify the assemblages of pollen in air samples, surface samples, or sediments of up to a few thousand years. Plant DNA on environmental surfaces can also be quantified with out techniques.

And More…

We understand that many cases require specialized procedures. Our application scientists are available to consult on individual projects, tailor sampling and analysis protocols, and help develop new techniques. Contact us to discuss your projects.

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A lot of things come out with fecals. Not only is their DNA from animals ate and the animals themselves, but also DNA from parasites that infect the animals. Common parasites in the digestive system include nematodes, trematodes, and cestodes. Traditional techniques for parasite assessment have been to look for eggs in the fecals. But… Read More

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The technique of assessing the relative abundance of different organisms is one of the strengths of next generation sequencing. For one recent project, we assessed the relative abundance of different fish species across a number of streams in Nebraska by amplifying a region of the mitochondria that is more or less specific to fish. When… Read More

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Jonah Ventures is currently working with Cameron Thrash at Louisiana State University to quantify the organisms of the Mississippi River using eDNA. The project is an amazing effort on the part of volunteers that have rowed the entire length of the Mississippi, collecting water samples as they go. Our contribution is to analyze the DNA in… Read More

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Phytoplankton–organisms such as cyanobacteria, green algae, and diatoms–are good indicators of water quality. The problem is that they are tiny and you need a microscope–and a lot of training–to identify them. Good news is that all of the organisms have unique DNA and are pretty abundant in waters, which means we can sequence them. We’re still… Read More

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Jonah Ventures is proud to announce that we will be assisting Sitting Bull College in research on bison diet and performance. The research, funded by the USDA, represents a collaboration among three Tribal Colleges: Little Big Horn (Montana, Crow Nation), Sinte Gleska (South Dakota, Lakota Nation), and Sitting Bull (North Dakota, Lakota/Dakota Nation). The goal of the… Read More

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I remember the famous limnologist G. Evelyn Hutchinson was once mocked as supposedly believing that he could determine all there was to know about a lake simply by sticking one, perhaps two, fingers in a lake. I am not sure how many fingers it would take, but with environmental DNA one can convince themselves that we… Read More

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