Environmental DNA Field Equipment Techniques Course

Are you interested in detecting aquatic species from a simple water sample? eDNA species detection is rapidly becoming an industry-standard method, and the number of researchers using eDNA is growing exponentially. Reliable eDNA data depends on good technique and properly trained field crews because there are many instances where contamination/bias can influence species detection results. With the right equipment and good training, eDNA survey methods can save agencies substantial time and money.

Course Objectives

Attendees will receive instruction on the following topics:

  • What is eDNA and how do people use it for species detection?
  • Proper sampling techniques with Smith-Root eDNA equipment (eDNA Sampler, eDNA Citizen Scientist, Self-Preserving eDNA Filters).
  • Basics principles of eDNA extraction and detection (qPCR, Metabarcoding).
  • Using eDNA data – "so what do we do with this information?"
  • Hands-on field experience using eDNA sampling equipment.

Upcoming Course Dates

No courses are currently scheduled. Check back soon for new dates.

Course Format - One Day


Takes place in our onsite classroom and coverers eDNA sampling methodology.


Takes place at a local creek, providing students with hands-on familiarity with equipment operation, and an opportunity to apply the information learned in the classroom. If additional instruction is desired, one-on-one sampling instruction can be scheduled.


All attendees should bring a writing utensil, notebook and are suggested to bring chest waders/proper footwear for field use.

Classes Held in Vancouver, Washington

When taught at our headquarters in Vancouver, Washington, we provide lunch, backpack eDNA samplers, eDNA filter packets, and appropriate permits. If you would like to bring your own equipment to use in the class, please feel free to do so. Once course registration is complete, additional details concerning lodging and logistics will be provided.

Classes Held at Customer's Location

If the course is provided at your location, please call about pricing. We require an organizer to provide a classroom with sufficient capacity to seat all participants and an overhead projection screen for a PowerPoint presentation. The class will also need access to a stream and eDNA sampling equipment.

Optional equipment that individuals can bring themselves include a brimmed hat, sunglasses, lifejackets, sunscreen, water bottle, camera, and snacks.

Course Cost

The class taught at our Vancouver, Washington, USA headquarters cost $250 per student or is free with purchase of any new Smith-Root eDNA sampler. Courses held at other locations will have different costs.

Course Instructor

Austen Thomas Ph.D.
Research Scientist | Molecular Ecologist

Have questions? Contact Austen Thomas Ph.D..

Austen joined Smith-Root in 2015 and has directed the development of our Environmental DNA division. Working alongside our in-house engineering team, he designed the Smith-Root eDNA sampling system and fostered partnerships with other companies to help make Smith-Root a leader in eDNA technology. He is a research Molecular Ecologist with over 15 years of experience conducting field surveys, and he possesses a strong publication record with a focus on DNA metabarcoding. Austen has participated in national eDNA standardization efforts and he consistently strives to improve eDNA sampling processes for the betterment of data quality.