of invasive species
eDNA technology can help identify and track
invasive species in an aquatic system through single project
presence/absence studies, long-term surveillance of areas threatened by
invasion, and the determination of the spatial extent of a species
range (delimitation studies).
Traditional surveillance tools such as nets or electrofishing have
difficulty detecting species in low abundance, prohibiting early
detection. Rather than increasing the sampling effort, we use
a more specific technology, enabling the early detection and rapid
management of invasive species.
Environmental DNA technology detects the presence
or absence of species, allowing eradication efforts to be assessed
accurately, quickly, and cost-effectively.
Identification and monitoring
of endangered species
By using a tool that relies on environmental cues
rather than the sighting of a specimen, eDNA technology provides a non-
invasive, non-disruptive method for demonstrating the presence or
absence of an endangered species. This technique can be used
to assess the efficacy of reintroduction programs or in environmental
monitoring following barrier construction/removal
Environmental DNA surveillance can be used to
track the biodiversity effects of management techniques such as barrier
removal or construction. By determining a baseline of species
present, samples can be taken over time to analyze the recolonization
of fishes after barrier removal or fish ladder construction.
Conversely, the absence of fish after the construction of a barrier can
also be noted, useful in testing the efficacy of barriers against
Water samples can be used for the detection of
multiple species, allowing for the species composition of an area to be
determined within the confines of available markers.
or ecosystem health monitoring
The presence of deadly pathogens can be detected
in populations, enabling the rapid treatment and management of
diseases. Viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS), for example, can be
detected without the need of catching an infected specimen, allowing
fisheries to be stocked only with healthy fish and enabling the rapid
determination for containment need.
surveillance: organisms in trade
Environmental DNA technology can be used to
distinguish between desired bait species and undesired juvenile forms
of invasive species that often find their way into the bait trade due
to their similar appearances. Similarly, organisms in fish
markets and pet shops can be monitored to prevent the sale and
potential release of unwanted or harmful species.
Where likely releases of organisms in trade have taken place, eDNA
technology can be used to determine whether organisms have survived
Environmental impact and risk
Environmental DNA technology can be used in
environmental impact assessments to certify the presence/absence of a
target species. Areas can be certified to be free of rare,
threatened or endangered species prior to construction or
development. Power and water plants can easily test for the
absence of zebra and quagga mussels before site determination.