Pathway to Increase Standards and Competency of eDNA Surveys (PISCeS) International Conference


PISCeS 2020 at the University of Guelph has been postponed due to COVID-19 considerations and associated travel restrictions. A new date will be announced soon.


The University of Guelph’s Biodiversity Institute of Ontario (BIO), Department of Integrative Biology & College of Biological Sciences are pleased to host a second eDNA conference on May 28-29, 2020. Academia, regulators, and industry will join in a discussion on Pathways to Increase Standards and competency of Environmental DNA Surveys. The intent is to explore and inform public policy, industry strategies and future research. 

Conference: Thursday, May 28 - Friday, May 29, 2020

Training Workshops: eDNA Analytical Methods - Wednesday, May 27, 2020

                                     NEW! eDNA Sampling - Saturday, May 30, 2020

The Training Workshop session will include an introduction to the eDNA approaches, including qPCR assay design, NGS data analysis, and introduction to sampling collection. More details coming soon.


Register here

Registration Type

Early Bird Rate

(Until Feb. 14)

Regular Rate

(Feb. 14 - Apr. 30)

Late Rate

(May 1-22)

Student and Postdoc Registration - Conference and Workshop Session $150.00 $200.00 $270.00
Student and Postdoc Registration - Conference Only $100.00 $150.00 $200.00
Student and Postdoc Registration - Training Session Only $50.00 $50.00 $70.00
Student and Postdoc Registration - Workshop Session on May 30th $0 $25.00 $25.00
Regular Registration - Conference and Training Session $250.00 $300.00 $370.00
Regular Registration - Conference Only $200.00 $250.00 $300.00
Regular Registration - Training Session Only $50.00 $50.00 $70.00
Regular Registration - Workshop Session on May 30th $0 $25.00 $25.00

Registration Deadlines

  • Early Bird Registration Fee- Due February 14th, 2020
  • Regular Registration Fee - Due April 30th, 2020
  • Late Registration Fee - Due During May 2020


Submission Deadline: March 8th, 2020

Submit your abstract by email to following the submission guidelines:

  • When submitting your abstract use the following format in the email subject: Abstract Submission_LastName_Submission type
  • Abstracts must be submitted as a PDF file.
  • Use the provided template to prepare your abstract. Download the template here.
  • Submitted abstracts may not exceed 250 words (excluding title, author names, affiliations, and keywords).
  • Abstracts should include the following sections: Research topics, Submission type (oral or poster presentation), Title, Author(s), Institution(s), Abstract, Keywords.
  • The main (presenting) author's name should be marked with an asterisk (*)
  • Submitters should select up to 3 research topics (see below) that most closely correspond to the research to be presented.
  • Abstracts should be written in plain English.
  • References should not be cited in the abstract unless they are absolutely essential, in which case full bibliographic information must be provided.
  • Abstracts will be selected by a peer-review process. 

Research Topics:

  • Mesocosms
  • Marine
  • Freshwater
  • Aquatic
  • Terrestrial
  • Conservation
  • Invasive Alien Species
  • Target detection
  • Metabarcoding
  • Methods development
  • Theoretical
  • Applied
  • Policy and regulatory applications 

Confirmation of Acceptance: March 30th, 2020

PISCeS Keynote Speakers

Dr Kat Bruce

                               Director, NatureMetrics                       

Dr. Michael K. Young

Research Fisheries Biologist

National Genomics Center for Wildlife and Fish Conservation,

Rocky Mountain Research Station

Dr. Ian Salter

Marine Biogeochemistry and Microbial Ecology

Faroe Marine Research Institute (Havstovan)

Dr. Melania Cristescu

Canada Research Chair in Ecological Genomics

Editor-in-Chief, Genome

Associate Professor

Department of Biology, McGill University

Training Workshops

eDNA Analytical Methods Workshop - Wednesday, May 27, 2020

The eDNA Analytical Methods workshop will focus on targeted (morning) and passive metabarcoding (afternoon) approaches to detect eDNA. 

Morning session: Targeted detection

The workshop will reveal the inner workings of targeted qPCR-based eDNA tests. It will cover attributes of a good targeted qPCR-based eDNA test, considerations in test design and validation, and how to identify and mitigate false positives and negatives. Examples of useful reporting parameters will be given.

Afternoon session: Metabarcoding

The workshop will lead a discussion of what core basic analysis steps are included in all metabarcoding workflows, what these mean and what the implications are for eventual analysis. The session will address read merging, primer removal, depreplication, quality filtering, chimera searching, tag jumping, filtering rare haplotypes and the controversy over quantification in metabarcoding work. Case studies and example analysis platforms will be compared to demonstrate the similarities in these core steps and to show the impact of choices.


Dr. Caren Helbing


Department of Biochemistry & Microbiology

and Centre for Biomedical Research

University of Victoria

Dr. Elizabeth L. Clare

Senior Lecturer

School of Biological and Chemical Sciences

Queen Mary University of London


eDNA Sampling Workshop: Saturday, May 30, 2020

The eDNA Sampling workshop will explore a variety of sample collection methodologies for both professionals (e.g. using dedicated equipment) and citizen science collaborators (e.g. using inexpensive DIY kits).

More details coming soon. 

The eDNA Sampling Workshop is sponsored by GEN-FISH  

PISCeS Local Organizing Committee

Robert Hanner
Associate Professor
Biodiversity Institute of Ontario
Centre for Biodiversity Genomics
Department of Integrative Biology 
University of Guelph
519-824-4120 ext 53479
Tzitziki Loeza-Quintana
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Department of Integrative Biology 
University of Guelph


Scientific Program Committee

Scott Tarof,

Terrestrial Ecologist

Certified Ontario MNRF Wetland Evaluator 

Azimuth Environmental Consulting, Inc.


Mary Murdoch,

Senior Principal, Ecosystems Technical Leader – Canada

Stantec Consulting Ltd.

Alfried Vogler,

Professor                        Imperial College London


Thank You PISCeS Sponsors!



Smithsonian Institute (SI)
College of Biological Science

Fisheries and Oceans Canada




Halltech Aquatic Research Inc.




Canadian Museum of Nature





To become a sponsor or to learn more, please email denoting “sponsorship” in the subject header of the message.

PISCeS Social Media

For updates and information, please follow us on Twitter

Watch all talks from PISCeS 2018 on our YouTube channel PISCeS_eDNA. Make sure to subscribe for updates.

Sign up to receive relevant updates about eDNA and PIECeS. To be added to the mailing list, send an email to denoting "add me to the list" in the subject header.

PISCeS Inquiries

Please direct general inquiries to: 

Robert Hanner, PhD
Associate Professor 
Biodiversity Institute of Ontario 
Centre for Biodiversity Genomics
Department of Integrative Biology
University of Guelph
519-824-4120 ext 53479                                                                           


File attachments