Analysis of environmental DNA from sediments for detection of invasive dreissenid mussels
The proposed work will test the utility of DNA analysis on sediments for detection of low abundance populations of invasive dreissenid mussels. Many reservoirs considered to be at low risk for establishment of invasive dreissenid mussels are sampled infrequently due to allocation of limited resources. Such infrequent sampling decreases the probability of detecting an introduction of mussels should it occur. Because DNA is expected to have a longer persistence in sediments that in open water, sampling and analysis of sediments should provide an additional means for detection of invasive dreissenid introductions in infrequently samples waters.
Need and Benefit
Early detection of invasive dreissenid mussel populations presents a challenge for managers and aquatic invasive species coordinators, as plankton tow-based methods are dependent of sampling within a month of a spawning event. Given limited resources, irregular sampling of waterbodies may miss indications of mussel populations being present. A mussel DNA may persist in sediments longer than in the water column, sampling and analysis of sediments for mussel DNA may provide a tool for identifying possible mussel populations and helping to focus future sampling efforts.
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