DNA InsectScan for living walls

Mobilane introduces the DNA InsectScan for living walls in collaboration with SGS Search. A new unique and innovative method to measure the effectiveness of living walls for biodiversity. 

Monitoring insects through DNA

Effective ecological strategies around buildings can enhance the diversity of (flowering) plants, thereby supporting a more diverse insect population. However, due to their small size arthropods such as insects are among the most difficult taxa to detect and monitor, despite being the most numerically abundant taxa on Earth. Monitoring of the insect species in a given area and their overall biodiversity characterization, may be an effective way to track success in promoting the pivotal ecosystem services that these species provide. The DNA InsectScan for living walls by SGS Search is an innovative and useful tool to keep track of those changes through the utilization of insect environmental DNA (eDNA) due to its sampling simplicity, low processing time, accuracy and sensitivity to asses insect communities when compared with traditional biodiversity surveys.

Why is biodiversity important?

Insect populations are falling at an alarming rate. With several studies reporting losses of 40%. The situation is very critical as insects are vital for the functioning of ecosystems. Without them humans are in serious trouble. Insects pollinate flowers and plants and thus partly ensure the reproduction of the flora. They are a food source for other animals like birds, fish and spiders. If there are no more insects on the planet, humans will also lose the plants and their food.

Biodiversity Net Gain policy

It is to this backdrop that the government’s Biodiversity Net Gain policy will be rolled out in November 2023, which will require all housing, industrial or commercial developments in England to boost biodiversity by 10% in order to receive planning permission. It’s a first step towards a more nature-inclusive, biodiverse built environment, and will hopefully open the door for biodiversity to start receiving the same recognition as decarbonisation as a critical environmental challenge for the sector. The DNA InsectScan can helpt with this.



How does it work?

Environmental DNA (E-DNA) is the genetic material released by an organism into the environment. The sources are numerous and include shed skin and hair, body secretions, faeces, seeds, pollen. By deploying molecular techniques, E-DNA can be captured, amplified and/or sequenced to identify the recent presence, relative abundance and/or distribution of a given species or whole communities. ​

Mobilane website InText image Biodiversity lab InsectenScan 2

Samples for E-DNA analysis can come from anywhere but for our InsectScan we focus on vegetation samples. By sending us leaves, flowers and branches from the living wall after pruning we can determine which insect species were present in that area. The technique is non invasive and very sensitive, allowing for the detection of almost all insect species, even those that are very small or difficult to identify visually. ​
E-DNA has revolutionized our ability to analyse biodiversity at a fraction of the time it costs to conduct conventional ecological monitoring.

Why a DNA InsectScan for living walls?

We know that plants and soil in living walls contribute to biodiversity. But what is the real positive effect of green façades for insects? With the Mobilane DNA InsectScan for living walls, it is possible to express the positive effect of living walls on biodiversity in numbers. A unique way to easily measure biodiversity in a scientific way. This data is transparent and can be used in annual reports and sustainability reports for internal users and stakeholders.
The DNA InsectScan for living walls can contribute to sustainability certificates such as BREEAM certification.

A living wall for application of the DNA InsectScan


More about biodiversity in green facades

Green facades can contribute to biodiversity in various ways. The different types of plants, each with its own flowering season, attract birds as well as various insects such as bees and butterflies. A green wall outside not only serves as food, but also provides breeding and nesting opportunities. Birds can nest in the system, but can also be helped by placing nest boxes and/or insect hotels. Read more about the biodiversity and other benefits of a green facade here.

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Modular living wall system for climate-proof construction

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DNA Insect Scan

Schedule a DNA InsectScan

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Exclusive collaboration Mobilane x SGS Search
SGS Search is an international engineering firm, consultancy firm, laboratory and training institute for (sustainable) built environment. With their environment as inspiration, they create a sustainable future. A mission shared by Mobilane. With the InsectScan our clients can now monitor and verify the enhancement in insect species richness. In this way we contribute even more to a green future for the next generations. And at Mobilane we are therefore very excited about partnering with SGS Search to deliver the InsectScan to our clients.

* Sources:
Hallmann CA, Sorg M, Jongejans E, Siepel H, Hofland N, Schwan H, et al. (2017) More than 75 percent decline over 27 years in total flying insect biomass in protected areas.
Anders Pape Møller (2019) Parallel declines in abundance of insects and insectivorous birds in Denmark over 22 years.
Francisco Sánchez-Bayo, Kris A.G. Wyckhuys (2019). Worldwide decline of the entomofauna: A review of its drivers.