Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name



Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Heath, Daniel

Second Advisor

Mandrak, Nicholas




Environmental DNA (eDNA) can be extracted from water samples to determine target species presence and location, important for the detection of at-risk species or early invaders. I determined if eDNA can be used to identify the presence and location of target species. I quantified the signal strength of residual eDNA in a flowing system, while the target eDNA source entered the system at a fixed site (i.e. source site). I found that the strongest signals were always at the source site indicating that this method can be used to locate low-abundance species in rivers. I also found that eDNA and next-generation sequencing (NGS) detected 51 of 67 fishes (76.1%) from two large tributaries. Detections included three target species at risk and one target invasive species which contributed to 77.0% of the NGS data, indicating that eDNA and NGS can be used to monitor native communities in highly invaded habitats.