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PLoS One. 2014 Feb 11;9(2):e88786. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0088786. eCollection 2014.

Transport distance of invertebrate environmental DNA in a natural river.

Author information

1
Department of Aquatic Ecology, Eawag: Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, Dübendorf, Switzerland.

Abstract

Environmental DNA (eDNA) monitoring is a novel molecular technique to detect species in natural habitats. Many eDNA studies in aquatic systems have focused on lake or ponds, and/or on large vertebrate species, but applications to invertebrates in river systems are emerging. A challenge in applying eDNA monitoring in flowing waters is that a species' DNA can be transported downstream. Whether and how far eDNA can be detected due to downstream transport remains largely unknown. In this study we tested for downstream detection of eDNA for two invertebrate species, Daphnia longispina and Unio tumidus, which are lake dwelling species in our study area. The goal was to determine how far away from the source population in a lake their eDNA could be detected in an outflowing river. We sampled water from eleven river sites in regular intervals up to 12.3 km downstream of the lake, developed new eDNA probes for both species, and used a standard PCR and Sanger sequencing detection method to confirm presence of each species' eDNA in the river. We detected D. longispina at all locations and across two time points (July and October); whereas with U. tumidus, we observed a decreased detection rate and did not detect its eDNA after 9.1 km. We also observed a difference in detection for this species at different times of year. The observed movement of eDNA from the source amounting to nearly 10 km for these species indicates that the resolution of an eDNA sample can be large in river systems. Our results indicate that there may be species' specific transport distances for eDNA and demonstrate for the first time that invertebrate eDNA can persist over relatively large distances in a natural river system.

PMID:
24523940
PMCID:
PMC3921251
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0088786
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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