Identifying Fish Presence by their eDNA

scientist collects data at a stream
How do you know what species of fish are in a body of water if you cannot collect them directly? One way is to collect water samples and look for environmental DNA (or eDNA). Fish, and other species, leave behind traces of their DNA in the environment--from shed scales, for example. Testing the water for trace amounts of DNA is a powerful tool to identify the species found in an area without having to sample or collect them directly.

Using redundant primer sets to detect multiple native Alaskan fish species from environmental DNA

Abstract

Accurate and timely data regarding freshwater fish communities is important for informed decision-making by local, state, tribal, and federal land and resource managers; however, conducting traditional gear-based fish surveys can be an expensive and time-consuming process, particularly in remote areas, like those that characterize much of Alaska. To help address this challenge, we developed and tested five multi-species environmental DNA (eDNA) primer sets for the simultaneous detection of up to 37 target fish species in a single sample. Using these primer sets can reduce the cost and time needed to perform future studies of fish communities. Our results comparing multiple samples from multiple lakes and streams using multiple next-generation sequencing runs show the efficacy and reproducibility of these primers.

Menning, D., T. Simmons, and S. Talbot. 2018. Using redundant primer sets to detect multiple native Alaskan fish species from environmental DNA. Conservation Genetics Resources https://doi.org/10.1007/s12686-018-1071-7

Last updated: December 3, 2018