Thursday, January 6, 2011

Peer-Reviewed Journal Recognizes eDNA Use In Carp Detection

Jan 5: A release from The Nature Conservancy indicates that the use of environmental DNA (eDNA) by scientists from the University of Notre Dame and The Nature Conservancy to detect invasive Asian carp in the Chicago-area waterway has been validated in Conservation Letters, a new flagship peer-reviewed journal published by the Society for Conservation Biology.

    Professor David Lodge, director of the University of Notre Dame's Environmental Change Initiative said, "When you are dealing with cutting-edge research like eDNA, a very important part of the process is getting your science peer-reviewed and published in a well-respected journal. Given all the attention that the Asian carp issue has received, our team is thrilled to reach this new and important stage in the process." Lindsay Chadderton, The Nature Conservancy's Director for Aquatic Invasive Species, and a co-author of the paper said, "Critics have questioned whether our research can be trusted, but now that our work has been thoroughly reviewed and published in a scientific journal, hopefully the debate can shift from questioning the science to focusing on policy and management solutions." 
    Last year, working with The Nature Conservancy under a cooperative agreement funded by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the team of researchers used the eDNA technique to discover just how close highly invasive bighead and silver carp were getting to Lake Michigan. In particular, the scientists were trying to discover if the two species of Asian carp (bighead and silver) had made it past a pair of underwater electronic barriers designed to keep exotic invasive species from moving between the
Great Lakes
and Mississippi River watersheds. The team of researchers, which included scientists from The Nature Conservancy and Notre Dame, soon discovered genetic material from Asian carp in several sections of the Chicago-area waterway system. Many of the detection points suggested that Asian carp were much closer to Lake Michigan than authorities had previously believed. Some carp eDNA was found in Calumet Harbor, a near-shore area of Lake Michigan itself, many miles beyond the electronic underwater barrier.
   Access a release from The Nature Conservancy with more details and links to additional information (click here).