We understand the complex sampling challenges faced when completing invertebrate surveys. DNA metabarcoding empowers you to identify invertebrate and macroinvertebrate communities at unprecedented levels of efficiency, overcoming the barriers associated with conventional morphological identification and providing a scalable, objective and auditable approach to biodiversity surveying.

The potential of DNA-based methods is clear when applied to invertebrate surveys- whether it’s a bulk sample of invertebrates, or an eDNA sample, we can use metabarcoding to process your samples and return highly accurate data about the invertebrates present in your system.

Invertebrate Services

From a bulk sample of invertebrates, the NatureMetrics Invertebrate DNA Metabarcoding services can provide you with high-resolution data on the species present in the sample, enabling you to detect and monitor species and measure an ecosystems biological response to environmental stresses. Depending on the trapping method you use to collect your samples, there are various considerations that we can help with when planning your project.

You can detect aquatic macroinvertebrates with our aquatic eDNA services. Simply collect and send your environmental DNA samples and we will analyse them for the presence of macroinvertebrates. We are proud to offer this unique service for invertebrates. It is non-invasive and generates rapid and accurate data about the macroinvertebrates in your system. For more information on detecting invertebrates from aquatic eDNA, visit our “eDNA from water” page. Stay on this page if you’re interested in reading more about services using bulk invertebrate samples.

We will work with you to understand the methods that will best suit your project, whether it’s using bulk invertebrate or environmental DNA samples, and how best to treat your samples if you’re collecting bulk samples. We can also recommend how to adapt your current procedures and how we can complement your existing processes to ensure you get the best invertebrate data for your project needs

How does the process work?

Identifying invertebrate species from bulk samples has never been more straightforward.
You can expect results within eight working-weeks of your samples reaching our lab. We can also offer a rapid turnaround for this service if required. 
Please contact us for a bespoke quote, to place an order or if you would like more information about our services. If you have already registered with us, you can visit my.naturemetrics to place an order.

Considerations for your invertebrate survey

You should conduct any necessary morphological examinations before sending your samples to us as samples are ground for DNA extraction.

Some conventional collecting fluids (e.g. ethylene glycol), aren’t great at preserving DNA, and some should be avoided at all costs (e.g. formalin). So if you’re not sure what to use, please get in touch and we’ll help you find an alternative.

Invertebrate Metabarcoding returns presence-absence data, rather than abundance data, and can’t currently be used for the Water Framework Directive (WFD) monitoring of benthic macroinvertebrates. It is, however, an excellent option for processing large numbers of benthic macroinvertebrate samples for projects outside the scope of the WFD.

Most (c.75%) UK terrestrial invertebrates are represented in reference databases allowing us to identify them from DNA sequences. However, we can only return a higher-level taxonomy for the species that aren’t represented in any reference database, (e.g. ‘a species of Chironomid’). If it is vital to your project that you identify all taxa to species level, then we can work with you to develop a local reference database.

Behind the Science:

NatureMetrics was born with innovative macroinvertebrate DNA-based surveys at the heart of our services. Members of our senior team completed PhD research on insect metabarcoding. As a result, and thanks to the diverse projects we’ve been a part of, we are international experts in this field, setting the standard for macroinvertebrate DNA analyses and pushing the boundaries with research and development.

Explore the scope of DNA Metabarcoding further in our Article: DNA Metabarcoding of Invertebrates to Evaluate Outcomes of Ecological Restoration.

Why NatureMetrics?

You can turn to NatureMetrics if you need;


To revolutionise your understanding of the biodiversity at your site.

Advice on how to overcome the challenges associated with invertebrate surveys.

Access to world-leading expertise and latest innovations.

High accuracy results yielded from the latest Metabarcoding technologies.

To enhance your environmental monitoring programme through further data.

A partner who is honest and transparent about any limitations to the technology.

Guidance and support throughout all stages of your project cycle.

  • eDNA from Water
  • Great Crested Newts
  • Species from Faeces
  • Citizen Science
  • Consultation & Support
  • Training

eDNA from Water / Aquatic eDNA Surveys

Perform fast, powerful, robust surveys of aquatic life with the NatureMetrics’ eDNA from Water services. Our easy-to-use and custom designed sampling kits make the cutting-edge of DNA-based aquatic biomonitoring easily accessible to any user. Since 2016, they have been used to generate high-quality data from ponds, lakes, rivers and oceans, from the equator to the poles.

Great Crested Newts

Test for the presence of Great Crested Newts (GCN) in water using NatureMetrics’ GCN eDNA sampling kits, a service that we have been offering with a strong track-record since 2015.

Great Crested Newts are a European Protected Species so surveys are often a legal requirement. NatureMetrics offers one of the most established and trusted GCN eDNA services, and our team has processed thousands of samples for a variety of clients. We’re proud to score 100% in the 2020 proficiency test – the third year in a row that we have achieved this score.

Species from Faeces

From a faecal sample, it is possible to disentangle complex details about biodiversity. The NatureMetrics’ Species from Faeces services allow for species identification of the ‘doer of the deed’ as well as an assessment of the prey species that were consumed.

Citizen Science

The eDNA Discovery Lab brings biodiversity monitoring into the hands of everybody, whether you are hoping to engage stakeholders in fieldwork, or are curious about your own local biodiversity. We can help you to reveal the life within ponds, rivers, lakes and oceans. We work with local communities, schools, NGOs, and international charities to empower everybody with the tools needed for global change.

Find out more about incorporating Citizen Science into your environmental monitoring or see how you can get involved yourself.

Environmental Policy Consultation & Tender Support

NatureMetrics have assisted clients from a variety of sectors in utilising DNA-based methods to meet environmental monitoring needs across a range of regulatory environments.

Our team of experts can help you recognise the relationship between your business and biodiversity and buy-in from regulators and policy-makers, involving them in pilot studies and field trials at early stages. We are highly experienced at bringing together multi-stakeholder groups to trial and demonstrate new technologies and help accelerate uptake.

You can also leverage the knowledge of our team in tender support for environmental projects. We can help you understand how DNA based monitoring can support within the scope of your project tender and assist you in meeting the objectives when writing your tender application.

Discover more about our Environmental Policy Consultation and Tender Support services.


We offer education and training in DNA-based monitoring, having accumulated years of experience in industry and academia. You can enhance your teams’ knowledge of eDNA and DNA methods and develop a more in depth understanding of how to apply these methods robustly alongside other tools to help address particular biodiversity monitoring challenges, with training from our team of globally renowned experts.

We will tailor training to suit your requirements and deliver over a method of your choosing, be it remotely, on-site, in person or as a blend.

Explore our training services and the impacts our collaborations have achieved.