Computational-intensive analysis of honey derived environmental DNA information to disclose the effect of climate change on biodiversity.


eHoney aims at setting up a new avenue to analyse the effect of climate change on biodiversity using retrospectively archived honey samples. Honey bees are unique large-scale monitoring tools due to their extensive foraging activities and environmental exploration. Honey bees get into direct contact with the environment in which they live and bring into their hives, and in turns into the honey, environmental contaminants and traces. Therefore, honey bee activities define several features of the honey they produce, making the honey an unique collector of eDNA signatures. eHoney relies on the bioinformatics analysis of environmental DNA (eDNA) information derived from more than 500 honey samples produced over the last decade. Two strategies will be adopted: supervised binning and sequence homology approach to annotate via sequence comparison (alignment) the full set of NGS reads against a comprehensive database of sequence data and metadata. Then this approach will be compared with an annotation method based on read assembly (reads are concatenated in longer contigs) followed by supervised binning. As result, It would be possible to rapidly process eDNA sequences from honey and monitor, in real-time, the level of biodiversity and the effect of climate change.



eHoney lasts 12 months and it has the following timeline:

  • Months 1-4: set up the pipelines for NGS data annotation using the supervised binning based on sequence homology
  • Months 5-8: analysis of the whole datasets
  • Months 9-12: interpretation of the data – construction of databases and preparation of Open Access publications.



This work benefited from services and resources provided by the EOSC-ACE project (receiving funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 101017567), with the dedicated support from the ReCaS-Bari (INFN - Sezione di Bari) resource provider. The IT resources of the ReCaS-Bari data center have been made available by two projects financed by the MIUR (Italian Ministry for Education, University and Re-search) in the "PON Ricerca e Competitività 2007-2013" Program: ReCaS (Azione I - Interventi di rafforzamento strutturale, PONa3_00052, Avviso 254/Ric) and PRISMA (Asse II - Sostegno all'innovazione, PON04a2_A).