Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2017

Publication Title

Molecular Ecology Resources

Volume

17

Issue

3

First Page

523

Last Page

532

DOI

10.1111/1755-0998.12598

Keywords

DNA persistence, environmental DNA, qRT–PCR, residual, river

Abstract

Several studies have demonstrated that environmental DNA (eDNA) can be used to detect the presence of aquatic species, days to weeks after the target species has been removed. However, most studies used eDNA analysis in lentic systems (ponds or lakes), or in controlled laboratory experiments. While eDNA degrades rapidly in all aquatic systems, it also undergoes dilution effects and physical destruction in flowing systems, complicating detection in rivers. However, some eDNA (i.e. residual eDNA) can be retained in aquatic systems, even those subject to high flow regimes. Our goal was to determine residual eDNA detection sensitivity using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT–PCR), in a flowing, uncontrolled river after the eDNA source was removed from the system; we repeated the experiment over 2 years. Residual eDNA had the strongest signal strength at the original source site and was detectable there up to 11.5 h after eDNA source removal. Residual eDNA signal strength decreased as sampling distance downstream from the eDNA source site increased, and was no longer detectable at the source site 48 h after the eDNA source water was exhausted in both experiments. This experiment shows that residual eDNA sampled in surface water can be mapped quantitatively using qRT–PCR, which allows a more accurate spatial identification of the target species location in lotic systems, and relative residual eDNA signal strength may allow the determination of the timing of the presence of target species.

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