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Mesocosm comparison of laboratory‐based and on‐site eDNA solutions

October 16, 2020

By Mary Murdoch

In an issue of Environmental DNA, our team shares results of experiments to assess the accuracy of a new field-based eDNA tool

Environmental effects monitoring in marine ecosystems are challenging, particularly in tidally dynamic settings like the Bay of Fundy. Environmental DNA (eDNA) provides a useful tool for determining species presence in such challenging places to access and sample. Recent studies showing a link between eDNA concentration and fish density/biomass reveal the great promise for eDNA tools to improve biodiversity assessments in marine environments. We used three large experiments assess the accuracy and precision of a new handheld, field-based eDNA tool for quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) assays for detection of striped bass (Morone saxatilis) versus laboratory‐based eDNA techniques.

Our first experiment reliably detected striped bass eDNA using both the laboratory‐based or and field-based platforms, with some variation observed in the estimates of eDNA concentrations derived from each. Our second experiment established that eDNA in water samples collected within a 24‐hr period of exposure to striped bass was reliably and consistently detectable with either platform. Our final experiment found that the relationship between eDNA concentrations and increasing striped bass stocking densities was significant and positive based on results from each of the laboratory and field-based platforms. Our results validate and advance eDNA approaches toward environmental monitoring efforts and demonstrate the potential for real‐time eDNA tools to quantify and identify the spatial and temporal distribution of species‐at‐risk in an open ocean environment.

Read the full article at Environmental DNA.

  • Mary Murdoch

    Mary brings 21 years of environmental consulting experience and a focus on environmental assessment and aquatic environmental effects monitoring for industrial, commercial, institutional, municipal, and infrastructure clients.

    Contact Mary
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