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    Author(s): Sue Miller; Kellie CarimMike Schwartz; Scott Spaulding; Taylor Wilcox
    Date: 2020
    Source: Science You Can Use Bulletin, Issue 40. Fort Collins, CO: Rocky Mountain Research Station. 11 p.
    Publication Series: Science Bulletins and Newsletters
    Station: Rocky Mountain Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (2.0 MB)


    Environmental DNA (eDNA) sampling can infer whether a species is present without the need to physically observe that species. DNA in cells sloughed off from organisms persists in the environment, where it can be collected as a water sample, extracted, and analyzed for any species of interest. Aspects of sample collection may vary depending on the type of water body (pond, lake, river, stream) and area sampled (surface water, very deep lake water, mucky pond water). Study design (where and when samples are collected) can also vary based on research questions. Depending on a biologist’s particular question, different types of sample analyses may be chosen to detect the most accurate results. A “targeted” analysis is designed for detection of a particular species with very high accuracy. In contrast, “nontargeted” approaches may be used to broadly characterize community composition. Using targeted approaches, the National Genomics Center for Wildlife and Fish Conservation (NGC), has worked extensively with managers to answer important questions about the presence or absence of particular species. These eDNA projects include: sampling for endangered bull trout to assess the need for endangered species consultations with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) in treatment areas; confirming brook trout (an invasive species) eradication in particular stream reaches; and tracking the spread of another invasive species, northern pike, in the Columbia River. The NGC, while continuing important work on fishes, has also expanded the applications of eDNA sampling to survey for rare or recovering mammals, water birds, and amphibians.

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    Miller, Sue; Carim, Kellie; Schwartz, Mike; Spaulding, Scott; Wilcox, Taylor. 2020. Black and white and shed all over: How eDNA analysis can help to answer your species questions. Science You Can Use Bulletin, Issue 40. Fort Collins, CO: Rocky Mountain Research Station. 11 p.


    environmental DNA (eDNA) sampling, species, sample analyses, bull trout, brook trout, northern pike, invasive species, National Genomics Center for Wildlife and Fish Conservation (NGC)

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