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Tuesday, January 29 • 6:00pm - 9:00pm
(P45) Influence of Physical Processes on Transport and Persistence of eDNA from the Invasive Round Goby (Neogobious melanostomus)

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AUTHORS. Meredith B. Nevers, Murulee N. Byappanahalli, Kasia Kelly – U.S. Geological Survey; Charles C. Morris, Joshua Dickey – National Park Service

ABSTRACT. Environmental DNA (eDNA) is being explored in a variety of fishery sciences applications: early detection of invasive species, population estimations, or whole community composition.  Questions remain, however, about factors that influence the reliability of eDNA for detecting recent occupation of habitats by a given species.  It is unclear how physical and biological factors (settling, resuspension, dispersion, DNA stability and decay) influence estimations of eDNA concentration.  In a series of field and mesocosm experiments, we examined the transport, accumulation, and persistence of eDNA from the invasive round goby (Neogobius melanostomus).  Experiment 1: caged fish (n=30) were placed in a stream devoid of round goby, and water (1L) and sediment samples (~20g) were collected over 24 hours along a 120-m stretch of the stream.  Sampling continued for 24 hours after fish were removed. Experiment 2: round goby (n=5/tank) were placed in laboratory aquaria, and water (150mL) and sediment (~20g) were collected over 21 days plus another 28 days post-fish removal.  DNA was extracted from all samples, and qPCR was used to target DNA sequences (cytochrome oxidase I gene, COI, specific to round goby).  Results indicated that goby eDNA was readily transported downstream, with signals detected at all sites, but the signal disappeared rapidly after fish removal.  Similarly, eDNA was regularly detected in lab aquaria, but the signal disappeared rapidly in both matrices after fish removal.  Results show that eDNA acts conservatively as an indicator, and detection of an eDNA target would likely indicate recent occupation by the species.  eDNA technology holds great potential for species detection, including those that are hard-to-capture or less abundant in aquatic habitats.  Further research is needed to evaluate resuspension and shoreline interactions in the Great Lakes and how DNA responds to other environmental processes and conditions.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Superior Ballroom CD