Performance of eDNA assays to detect and quantify an elusive benthic fish in upland streams

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Abstract

The sensitivity and specificity of eDNA-based monitoring, coupled with its potential utility to estimate population density or biomass, makes it a useful tool in invasive species management. In this study, we investigated the potential of the eDNA method to improve the detection of the elusive invasive fish, oriental weatherloach (Misgurnus anguillicaudatus), in a river system where a density gradient of the species occurs. We compared detection rates between eDNA and conventional monitoring methods and examined the relationship between eDNA and abundance in a flowing environment. The eDNA method had a higher site detection rate than conventional methods (63 vs. 38%). Weatherloach eDNA was detected at all sites where the fish has been previously caught and none of the sites where the species has not been caught for the past 7 years. There was an increasing density trend going downstream based on long-term conventional monitoring, but the eDNA concentration in water samples reflected this trend only in a continuous section of the river where impoundments were absent. We did not find a positive relationship between eDNA concentration and contemporary abundance estimates in our study area. A high eDNA concentration was recorded at a site (DVC) which was designated a low density site based on long-term catch data. This discrepancy was a likely result of physical habitat characteristics which influenced the efficiency of the conventional methods used. This study highlighted the challenges of inferring density from eDNA data in flowing water because habitat features may confound results, necessitating careful consideration for results to be useful to management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3079-3093
Number of pages15
JournalBiological Invasions
Volume20
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2018

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highlands
assay
Misgurnus anguillicaudatus
assays
fish
monitoring
methodology
catch statistics
rivers
habitat
impoundment
habitats
invasive species
river system
population density
water
method
biomass
river
detection

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title = "Performance of eDNA assays to detect and quantify an elusive benthic fish in upland streams",
abstract = "The sensitivity and specificity of eDNA-based monitoring, coupled with its potential utility to estimate population density or biomass, makes it a useful tool in invasive species management. In this study, we investigated the potential of the eDNA method to improve the detection of the elusive invasive fish, oriental weatherloach (Misgurnus anguillicaudatus), in a river system where a density gradient of the species occurs. We compared detection rates between eDNA and conventional monitoring methods and examined the relationship between eDNA and abundance in a flowing environment. The eDNA method had a higher site detection rate than conventional methods (63 vs. 38{\%}). Weatherloach eDNA was detected at all sites where the fish has been previously caught and none of the sites where the species has not been caught for the past 7 years. There was an increasing density trend going downstream based on long-term conventional monitoring, but the eDNA concentration in water samples reflected this trend only in a continuous section of the river where impoundments were absent. We did not find a positive relationship between eDNA concentration and contemporary abundance estimates in our study area. A high eDNA concentration was recorded at a site (DVC) which was designated a low density site based on long-term catch data. This discrepancy was a likely result of physical habitat characteristics which influenced the efficiency of the conventional methods used. This study highlighted the challenges of inferring density from eDNA data in flowing water because habitat features may confound results, necessitating careful consideration for results to be useful to management.",
keywords = "Abundance, Density gradient, Detection, Environmental DNA, Invasive, Monitoring, Weatherloach",
author = "Rheyda Hinlo and Mark Lintermans and Dianne Gleeson and Ben Broadhurst and Elise Furlan",
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T1 - Performance of eDNA assays to detect and quantify an elusive benthic fish in upland streams

AU - Hinlo, Rheyda

AU - Lintermans, Mark

AU - Gleeson, Dianne

AU - Broadhurst, Ben

AU - Furlan, Elise

PY - 2018/11/1

Y1 - 2018/11/1

N2 - The sensitivity and specificity of eDNA-based monitoring, coupled with its potential utility to estimate population density or biomass, makes it a useful tool in invasive species management. In this study, we investigated the potential of the eDNA method to improve the detection of the elusive invasive fish, oriental weatherloach (Misgurnus anguillicaudatus), in a river system where a density gradient of the species occurs. We compared detection rates between eDNA and conventional monitoring methods and examined the relationship between eDNA and abundance in a flowing environment. The eDNA method had a higher site detection rate than conventional methods (63 vs. 38%). Weatherloach eDNA was detected at all sites where the fish has been previously caught and none of the sites where the species has not been caught for the past 7 years. There was an increasing density trend going downstream based on long-term conventional monitoring, but the eDNA concentration in water samples reflected this trend only in a continuous section of the river where impoundments were absent. We did not find a positive relationship between eDNA concentration and contemporary abundance estimates in our study area. A high eDNA concentration was recorded at a site (DVC) which was designated a low density site based on long-term catch data. This discrepancy was a likely result of physical habitat characteristics which influenced the efficiency of the conventional methods used. This study highlighted the challenges of inferring density from eDNA data in flowing water because habitat features may confound results, necessitating careful consideration for results to be useful to management.

AB - The sensitivity and specificity of eDNA-based monitoring, coupled with its potential utility to estimate population density or biomass, makes it a useful tool in invasive species management. In this study, we investigated the potential of the eDNA method to improve the detection of the elusive invasive fish, oriental weatherloach (Misgurnus anguillicaudatus), in a river system where a density gradient of the species occurs. We compared detection rates between eDNA and conventional monitoring methods and examined the relationship between eDNA and abundance in a flowing environment. The eDNA method had a higher site detection rate than conventional methods (63 vs. 38%). Weatherloach eDNA was detected at all sites where the fish has been previously caught and none of the sites where the species has not been caught for the past 7 years. There was an increasing density trend going downstream based on long-term conventional monitoring, but the eDNA concentration in water samples reflected this trend only in a continuous section of the river where impoundments were absent. We did not find a positive relationship between eDNA concentration and contemporary abundance estimates in our study area. A high eDNA concentration was recorded at a site (DVC) which was designated a low density site based on long-term catch data. This discrepancy was a likely result of physical habitat characteristics which influenced the efficiency of the conventional methods used. This study highlighted the challenges of inferring density from eDNA data in flowing water because habitat features may confound results, necessitating careful consideration for results to be useful to management.

KW - Abundance

KW - Density gradient

KW - Detection

KW - Environmental DNA

KW - Invasive

KW - Monitoring

KW - Weatherloach

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