Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name



Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Heath, Daniel

Second Advisor

Mandrak, Nicholas



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


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.