Preserving avian blood and DNA sampled in the wild: A survey of personal experiences

Irene Di Lecce, Joanna Sudyka, David F. Westneat, Marta Szulkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Collecting and storing biological material from wild animals in a way that does not deteriorate DNA quality for subsequent analyses is instrumental for research in ecology and evolution. Our aims were to gather reports on the effectiveness of methods commonly used by researchers for the field collection and long-term storage of blood samples and DNA extracts from wild birds. Personal experiences were collected with an online survey targeted specifically at researchers sampling wild birds. Many researchers experienced problems with blood sample storage but not with DNA extract storage. Storage issues generated problems with obtaining adequate DNA quality and sufficient DNA quantity for the targeted molecular analyses but were not related to season of blood sampling, access to equipment, transporting samples, temperature, and method of blood storage. Final DNA quality and quantity were also not affected by storage time before DNA extraction or the methods used to extract DNA. We discuss practical aspects of field collection and storage and provide some general recommendations, with a list of pros and cons of different preservation methods of avian blood samples and DNA extracts.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere9232
JournalEcology and Evolution
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank two anonymous reviewers and the editorial team for their detailed comments. This study was funded by the Polish National Science Centre grant no. 2016/21/B/NZ8/03082 awarded to MS.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors. Ecology and Evolution published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


  • DNA
  • birds
  • blood sampling
  • long-term storage
  • molecular ecology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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