Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Wisconsin Fishery
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Wisconsin Fishery Project

Development of eDNA metabarcoding methods to identify invasive species and examine community structure

September 2018 - June 2020


Participating Agencies

  • U.S. Geological Survey Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center

Environmental DNA (eDNA) surveillance has potential to make traditional fishery surveys and detection of invasive fishes more efficient and economical, but the development and standardization of this tool has been inefficient due to focusing on individual species. UMESC has more than 25 years of fish survey data collected from the Mississippi River as part of the Long-Term Resource Monitoring (LTRM) program, while the University of Wisconsin-Madison has been recording fish capture data from several lakes Wisconsin as part of their North Temperate Lakes Long-Term Ecological Research (NTL-LTER) program since 1981. Using the survey data and a comprehensive life-history database for fishes captured in the Upper Midwest, we will evaluate the utility of different eDNA sampling techniques with present and past catch data and identify which life-history traits correlate with eDNA detection. The resultant model will be incorporated into an electronic interface that natural resource managers and scientists can access to determine if eDNA is the right tool and, if so, what method should be used.