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Introduction to Ecowarwicker Ecological Forensics

For information about our operations during this Covid-19 pandemic, please see our news section.

Thank you for your interest in EcoWarwicker. Here is some general information about the service.

What do we do?

We identify mammalian species through DNA analysis.

What does the analysis involve?

Species IDs are based on DNA sequence taken from a single dropping where possible, or other sample types such as fur, skin or bone. As such, our approach means that positive results are definitive; specific to the individual animal that made the guano or dropping, rather than garnering all available environmental DNA and looking for "markers" within this to narrow down to the species level. It can be helpful to include more than one dropping per sample so that we can use fresh material if a repeat analysis is required (which can happen for various reasons). We attempt the analysis up to 3 times at no extra cost. We do not charge for samples which fail three attempts to sequence. Repeat analyses can impact the turn around but we can often complete the standard service within the two-week period. We will assign our own unique ID number to each sample we receive, and this will stay with each sample throughout the process.

Can you tell the age/sex/diet of the animal using this analysis?

The service we offer is cost effective and streamlined to be useful to a wide clientele. The technology is out there to enable this kind of in-depth analysis, but due to the costs and subsequent lengthy data analysis, this is currently restricted to funded research projects.

What if I believe there is more than one species present?

For mixed species assemblages where you wish to identify each species present, you should attempt to separate out samples to different containers prior to sending them. Please also label them so we can be sure they are separate samples and not "spare" guano. These will be processed and costed as separate samples.

Please note that due to the high flowthrough of samples we do not routinely acknowledge receipt of samples, you can of course email us to enquire about specific or urgent samples.

How long does the analysis take?

We operate two priority schemes:

Standard Service: The standard service aims for an estimated two-week turn around from receipt of your sample to delivery of results by email. Please allow for postage time.

Premium Service: The premium service, which aims to deliver results in 7 working days following our receipt of sample. Please note that if a sample needs to be repeated then we will not be able to guarantee a result within the 7 working days. Each round of analysis can take up to 7 working days. Please allow for postage time.

Please note that July-November are our peak times. If you have samples that require meeting end of season deadlines, please send these in good time, the earlier the better.

Do charities and rehabilitation workers get a discount?

When we set up this service it was very much with charity and small business budgets in mind, and not about making a huge profit. We run at cost, meaning what we charge is what it costs to cover wages and materials. In addition, we make no extra charge for any necessary additional attempts (up to three attempts per sample), nor any charge for samples that fail all three attempts, so unfortunately we cannot offer further reduction without putting the service at risk.

How do we get in touch with you?

The quickest and most reliable method of contacting us is by email bats@warwick.ac.uk This will also be the email address from which results will be sent, so it may be a good idea to add this to your safe contacts list.

What are the billing options?

You can either request payment by invoice (tab or non-tab, details below), or choose to pay online rather than by invoice (VAT receipts are available upon request). The costs will depend on the priority service requested and on whether you wish to set up a tab on your account. The default in the absence of a stated preference is to set up a tab.

ONLINE PAYMENT:

You will not receive an invoice with this option, but a VAT receipt is available post payment upon request. A good option for occasional users of the service, and those wishing to settle their accounts quickly. If choosing this option we do ask that you do not make advance payment because you will need to be able to quote the unique "batID/Job number" from your results letter to enable us to keep track of payments.

Standard Service £54 per sample including VAT

Premium Service £72 per sample including VAT

Simply state in your correspondence that you wish to pay online and whether standard or premium service is required.

PAYMENT BY INVOICE: there are two options: tab invoicing and non-tab invoicing.

Tab invoicing: A good option for those sending in more than 8 samples in a season.

In response to previous requests and to enable us to keep costs low for you, we set up this payment option. This is much like running a "tab" in a shop. Your account will be automatically flagged for billing once 8 or more successful samples have been completed. We do like to try to keep our records up to date so will occasionally invoice prior to the 8-10 sample threshold if the last samples sent in were from a long while ago, but this will usually have to be charged at the non-tab rates.

Standard Service: £54 per sample. Estimated 2 week turn around.

Premium Service: £72 per sample. Estimated 7 working day turn around.

Non-tab invoicing: Some clients prefer to be billed more often, or for particular projects. An invoice will be sent in the subsequent round of invoicing once the work is complete. We submit invoices to our finance department monthly. The additional admin costs mean a slightly higher cost to the client.

Standard Service Single Sample: £65 PLUS VAT. Estimated 2 week turn around.

Standard Service Multiple Samples: £60 PLUS VAT per sample. Estimated 2 week turn around.

Premium Service Single Sample: £75 PLUS VAT. Estimated 7 working day turn around.

Premium Service Multiple Samples: £70 PLUS VAT per sample. Estimated 7 working day turn around.

What do I need to send?

Carefully packaged and clearly labelled samples: Labels can be for your own reference and can help us when identifying a sample if there is a query, and when sending out your result. Please use rigid, straight-sided plastic containers where possible. This helps to maintain the integrity of the guano. These can be old camera film boxes or other clean, small plastic lidded containers. We strongly recommend using bubble wrap or a padded or jiffy envelope to protect the samples while in transit. Paper envelopes are much more easily torn en route to us. We also ask that you please ensure that you have paid correct postage as we cannot accept responsibility for samples that don’t reach us.

Email address: Results are sent out by email, and we prefer to contact you by email with any queries, so please include your email address.

Full contact name, company name and address, billing address: To enable us to raise invoices if required and to keep our database up to date. Even if you later become a regular client of the service, including these details with each sample you send helps to keep the process running smoothly and efficiently. If you have separate billing addresses for different departments within your company and you wish any invoices to be allocated separately, please make this clear in the correspondence included with the sample(s). Please note that we do not publicly share your information.

Purchase Order Number: Where this is required within your company.

Which service you require: Standard or premium.

Your billing preference: Online payment, tab invoicing or non-tab invoicing.

Where do I send samples? (COVID-19: you can now send samples to the usual address below, but we will still receive any that have already been sent to the alternative address in the news section)

Please send samples to:

Professor Robin Allaby FRSB FLS

School of Life Sciences

University of Warwick

Coventry

CV4 7AL

If you have any queries, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

bats@warwick.ac.uk