eDNA Bread Crumbs Track Migrating Fish

eDNA Bread Crumbs Track Migrating Fish

steelhead-pair

New DNA sampling techniques have just established a benchmark for fisheries science -- the ability to determine the species type and abundance of migrating fish just by sampling water in a river.  The genetic bread crumbs that fish leave behind just by passing through a section of stream now are able to be used to gauge the size of migration runs and even the presence of different species moving with them.


Using DNA evidence found in the ambient environment -- a concept dubbed eDNA -- can now enable scientists to take census of fish and animal populations with an ease and accuracy never before available.



The technique was first applied in the Hudson and East Rivers of New York by researchers from Rockefeller University, and their analysis was detailed in the online scientific journal PLOS ONE.  As reported by UPI, the methodology showed, "the presence and absence of a variety of local fish species as they traversed the river.... (and) corresponded with migration patterns established by previous net surveys."

UPI coverage continued, "For the first time, we've successfully recorded a spring fish migration simply by conducting DNA tests on water samples," Rockefeller researcher Mark Stoeckle said in a news release. "


"If future research confirms that an index of species' abundance can be derived from naked DNA extracted from water, it could easily improve the rationality with which fish quotas are set, and the quality and reliability of their monitoring around the world," said Jesse Ausubel, director of Rockefeller's Program for the Human Environment.


Sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka); Canada

Sampling of genetic material has previously been conducted in river sediments as well.  Another well regarded scientific resource, Science Direct, hosts a study conducted in 2014 that showed the following correlations.

'¢ Fish eDNA was 8 — 1800 times more concentrated in sediment than water.

'¢ Fish eDNA remained detectable after more than 3 months in sediment but

not water.

'¢ Aqueous and sedimentary concentrations of fish eDNA were positively

correlated.

'¢ Sedimentary eDNA may allow retrospective genetic monitoring of fish.

chinook-salmon

I did a short year-long stint working for the US Fish and Wildlife Service 40 years ago, conducting sample surveys of salmon and steelhead in Puget Sound and it's various river tributaries. Jaw tagging of adult salmon captured in salt water and micro tagging of juvenile fish in hatcheries on the Olympic Peninsula were part of an ongoing effort to quantify runs and escapement numbers.  While it provided the only real data fisheries managers had to work with, it was hard won and certainly had it's limitations.

New eDNA sampling techniques offer the ability to monitor and assess not only the strength of migrations, but could potentially be able to more accurately identify the presence and ratio of wild vs. hatchery fish in a given run, a holy grail dataset for environmental advocates wanting to engage legislators to effect policy regarding anadromous species.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KR4TEhFcZPc

Get Your Fish On.

Plan your next fishing and boating adventure here.

Recommended for You

American Rivers today released its annual list of America's Most Endangered Rivers, identifying ten rivers facing imminent threats. News

2019 Most Endangered Rivers

Fly Fisherman - April 16, 2019

American Rivers today released its annual list of America's Most Endangered Rivers,...

Here are step-by-step instructions for tying the Strong Arm Merkin fly. Fly Tying

Tying the Strong Arm Merkin

David W. Skok - July 09, 2019

Here are step-by-step instructions for tying the Strong Arm Merkin fly.

Here's a look at 8 new fly lines for 2019. Lines

8 New Fly Lines for 2019

Fly-Fisherman

Here's a look at 8 new fly lines for 2019.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

 Getting Started In Fly Fishing

Getting Started In Fly Fishing

Getting Started In Fly Fishing

Bahamas - Bonefish

Bahamas - Bonefish

Conway casts for his personal best bonefish while fishing the Grand Bahama islands.

Breaking the Surface

Breaking the Surface

Attack of the Bass continues as Breaking the Surface attacks bass with fly and lure 12:30pm ET Sunday, April 17th.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

Fly-Fisherman Editor Ross Purnell shares his top five best trout fishing destinations in the world. Worldwide

5 Best Trout Fishing Spots in the World

Ross Purnell, Editor

Fly-Fisherman Editor Ross Purnell shares his top five best trout fishing destinations in the...

The fly fishing communities in the U.S. and Belize are mourning after twin slayings that occurred on what appeared to be a routine guide trip on Sunday, June 23, 2019 in a shallow lagoon near San Pedro, Brazil. Industry

Fly Fishing Community Stunned by Twin Slayings on Belize Saltwater Flat

Fly Fisherman Online Staff - June 27, 2019

The fly fishing communities in the U.S. and Belize are mourning after twin slayings that...

As you explore your home water, keep in mind what they are are eating to select the best carp flies! Flies

The 15 Best Carp Flies

Jay Zimmerman - September 27, 2016

As you explore your home water, keep in mind what they are are eating to select the best carp...

See More Stories

More Industry

Guides and outfitting services in America come in all flavors. The men that make up Gunnison River Expeditions are guides worth their salt. Industry

The Most Radical Guides in America?

Jonathan Wright - June 07, 2018

Guides and outfitting services in America come in all flavors. The men that make up Gunnison...

Scheduled for July 20-22 at Houston's George R. Brown Convention Center, the Sportsman Channel Outdoor Fest is an event for outdoor enthusiasts. Industry

Houston Readies for Sportsman Channel Outdoor Fest

Fly Fisherman - May 14, 2018

Scheduled for July 20-22 at Houston's George R. Brown Convention Center, the Sportsman Channel...

Kurt Gutormson, of South Dakota, may potentially have broken the Line-Class World Record Carp. Read all about this amazing catch, here! Industry

New Line-Class World Record Carp

Jonathan Wright - May 05, 2018

Kurt Gutormson, of South Dakota, may potentially have broken the Line-Class World Record Carp....

See More Industry

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

×