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USGS - science for a changing world

Anna Mckee

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The isolation and identification of environmental DNA (eDNA) offers a non-invasive and efficient method for the detection of rare and secretive aquatic wildlife, and it is being widely integrated into inventory and monitoring efforts. The Patch-Nosed Salamander (Urspelerpes brucei) is a tiny, recently discovered species of plethodontid salamander known only from headwater streams in a small region of Georgia and South Carolina. Here, we present results of a quantitative PCR-based eDNA assay capable of detecting Urspelerpes in more than 75% of 33 samples from five confirmed streams. We deployed the method at 31 additional streams and located three previously undocumented populations of Urspelerpes. We compare the...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Copeia
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Cambarus cryptodytes (Dougherty Plain Cave Crayfish) is an obligate inhabitant of groundwater habitats (i.e., a stygobiont) with troglomorphic adaptations in the Floridan aquifer system of southwestern Georgia and adjacent Florida panhandle, particularly in the Dougherty Plain and Marianna Lowlands. Documented occurrences of Dougherty Plain Cave Crayfish are spatially distributed as 2 primary clusters separated by a region where few caves and springs have been documented; however, the paucity of humanly accessible karst features in this intermediate region has inhibited investigation of the species' distribution. To work around this constraint, we employed bottle traps to sample for Dougherty Plain Cave Crayfish...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Southeastern Naturalist
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Environmental DNA (eDNA) is an emerging tool that allows low-impact sampling for aquatic species by isolating DNA from water samples and screening for DNA sequences specific to species of interest. However, researchers have not tested this method in naturally acidic wetlands that provide breeding habitat for a number of imperiled species, including the frosted salamander (Ambystoma cingulatum), reticulated flatwoods salamanders (Ambystoma bishopi), striped newt (Notophthalmus perstriatus), and gopher frog (Lithobates capito). Our objectives for this study were to develop and optimize eDNA survey protocols and assays to complement and enhance capture-based survey methods for these amphibian species. We collected...
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Species detection using environmental DNA (eDNA) has tremendous potential for contributing to the understanding of the ecology and conservation of aquatic species. Detecting species using eDNA methods, rather than directly sampling the organisms, can reduce impacts on sensitive species and increase the power of field surveys for rare and elusive species. The sensitivity of eDNA methods, however, requires a heightened awareness and attention to quality assurance and quality control protocols. Additionally, the interpretation of eDNA data demands careful consideration of multiple factors. As eDNA methods have grown in application, diverse approaches have been implemented to address these issues. With interest in eDNA...
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