Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub


    1. Surveys for environmental DNA (eDNA) can provide an efficient and effective means of detecting aquatic organisms in various types of aquatic systems.

    2. In the summer of 2017, the efficacy of a new, integrated eDNA backpack sampler to detect two native amphibians (Rana sierrae and R. cascadae) at risk was tested in complex mountain meadows in California. Samples were collected at 65 locations in 15 meadows where the target species were known to be present or were historically present.

    3. Collection and preservation of individual samples took less than 10 min on average. Environmental DNA analysis methods detected each species at all meadows with visual detections (N = 11) except one with one frog seen away from sampling sites. Bayesian multi‐scale occupancy modelling indicated that conditional detection probabilities at the sample level ranged from 0.30 (CL 0.07–0.65) at meadow heads where no frogs were observed during visual surveys to 0.93 (CL 0.77–1.00) at the meadow foot with at least one frog observed in the vicinity.

    4. Compared with visual surveys, eDNA methods more frequently detected amphibians at the sampling‐location scale. The improvement in detection using eDNA methods was most pronounced for samples collected at the downstream ends of meadows where water converges, where eDNA methods detected target species at 10 of 11 occupied meadows.

    5. These results suggest that the addition of eDNA sampling to visual surveys in mountain meadows will improve survey accuracy and increase the probability of detecting rare frogs.

    Publication Notes

    • You may send email to to request a hard copy of this publication.
    • (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Pope, Karen L.; Goldberg, Caren S.; Nelson, Nicolette L.; Cummings, Adam K.; Seaborn, Travis; Piovia‐Scott, Jonah. 2020. Designing environmental DNA surveys in complex aquatic systems: Backpack sampling for rare amphibians in Sierra Nevada meadows. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems. 3: 28.


    Google Scholar


    anuran distribution, multi‐scale occupancy modelling, self‐desiccating filters, visual surveys

    Related Search

    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page