In silico assessment of primers for eDNA studies using PrimerTree and application to characterize the biodiversity surrounding the Cuyahoga River.
ABSTRACT: Analysis of environmental DNA (eDNA) enables the detection of species of interest from water and soil samples, typically using species-specific PCR. Here, we describe a method to characterize the biodiversity of a given environment by amplifying eDNA using primer pairs targeting a wide range of taxa and high-throughput sequencing for species identification. We tested this approach on 91 water samples of 40?mL collected along the Cuyahoga River (Ohio, USA). We amplified eDNA using 12 primer pairs targeting mammals, fish, amphibians, birds, bryophytes, arthropods, copepods, plants and several microorganism taxa and sequenced all PCR products simultaneously by high-throughput sequencing. Overall, we identified DNA sequences from 15 species of fish, 17 species of mammals, 8 species of birds, 15 species of arthropods, one turtle and one salamander. Interestingly, in addition to aquatic and semi-aquatic animals, we identified DNA from terrestrial species that live near the Cuyahoga River. We also identified DNA from one Asian carp species invasive to the Great Lakes but that had not been previously reported in the Cuyahoga River. Our study shows that analysis of eDNA extracted from small water samples using wide-range PCR amplification combined with high-throughput sequencing can provide a broad perspective on biological diversity.
Project description:Premise of the Study:The detection of environmental DNA (eDNA) using high-throughput sequencing has rapidly emerged as a method to detect organisms from environmental samples. However, eDNA studies of aquatic biomes have focused on surveillance of animal species with less emphasis on plants. Pondweeds are important bioindicators of freshwater ecosystems, although their diversity is underestimated due to difficulties in morphological identification and monitoring. Methods:A protocol was developed to detect pondweeds in water samples using atpB-rbcL and ITS2 markers. The water samples were collected from the Grand River within the rare Charitable Research Reserve, Ontario (RARE). Short fragments were amplified using primers targeting pondweeds, sequenced on an Ion Torrent Personal Genome Machine, and assigned to the taxonomy using a local DNA reference library and GenBank. Results:We detected two species earlier documented at the experimental site during ecological surveys (Potamogeton crispus and Stuckenia pectinata) and three species new to the RARE checklist (P. foliosus, S. filiformis, and Zannichellia palustris). Discussion:Our targeted approach to track the species composition of pondweeds in freshwater ecosystems revealed underestimation of their diversity. This result suggests that eDNA is an effective tool for monitoring plant diversity in aquatic habitats.
Project description:The role of river obstacles in preventing or facilitating the dispersal and establishment of aquatic invasive species is controversial. Novel detection tools like environmental DNA (eDNA) can be used for monitoring aquatic invasive species (AIS) such as the American signal crayfish (Pacifastacus leniusculus) and the Chinese mitten crab (Eriocheir sinensis), providing information on the effect of barriers on their distribution. We analysed eDNA from both water and surface sediment in three river catchments (Medway, Dee and Stour; Great Britain), with differing levels of connectivity, to determine spatial distribution of the two species, and assessed the effect of barriers on their eDNA detection. Positive eDNA detections were obtained within confirmed sites for both species in all catchments, with evidence of species overlap in the River Medway. Upstream barriers in the Medway positively influenced detection success of mitten crab lower in the catchment while detection success of signal crayfish was higher in the highly fragmented catchment (River Medway). This information on the role of river barriers on AIS distribution and eDNA detection is important for management strategies and for predicting both future dispersal and likelihood of new colonisations in previously uninvaded fragmented catchments.
Project description:DNA sampled from the environment (eDNA) is a useful way to uncover biodiversity patterns. By combining a conceptual model and empirical data, we test whether eDNA transported in river networks can be used as an integrative way to assess eukaryotic biodiversity for broad spatial scales and across the land-water interface. Using an eDNA metabarcode approach, we detect 296 families of eukaryotes, spanning 19 phyla across the catchment of a river. We show for a subset of these families that eDNA samples overcome spatial autocorrelation biases associated with the classical community assessments by integrating biodiversity information over space. In addition, we demonstrate that many terrestrial species are detected; thus suggesting eDNA in river water also incorporates biodiversity information across terrestrial and aquatic biomes. Environmental DNA transported in river networks offers a novel and spatially integrated way to assess the total biodiversity for whole landscapes and will transform biodiversity data acquisition in ecology.
Project description: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.
Project description:Determining the distribution of the Yangtze finless porpoise (Neophocaena asiaeorientalis asiaeorientalis, YFP) in the Yangtze River has to date relied on traditional visual and counting methods, but such field surveys are time-consuming and expensive. Analyses using environmental DNA (eDNA) to investigate the presence and range of endangered aquatic species have proven to be more economical and effective detection methods, and are a non-invasive approach to sampling. A challenge of relying on eDNA for YFP monitoring is that the Yangtze River is characterized by high turbidity and a strong current. Here, we used an eDNA-based approach to estimate the presence of YFP at 18 sites in the Yangtze River in August 2017 and at an additional 11 sites in January 2018. At each sampling site, we filtered six 1 L water samples with 5 µm pore size filter paper and quantified the amount of YFP eDNA in each water sample using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). In addition, YFP eDNA was successfully detected in locations where we visually observed YFP, as well as in locations where YFP were not observed directly. We found that our eDNA-based method had higher detection rates than traditional field survey methods. Although YFP was visually observed in the Yangtze River in winter, water samples collected during the summer contained significantly higher YFP eDNA than winter water samples. Our results demonstrate the potential effectiveness of eDNA detection methods in determining the distribution of YFP in the Yangtze River.
Project description:Although environmental DNA (eDNA) is increasingly being used to survey for the presence of rare and/or invasive fishes in aquatic systems, the utility of this technique has been limited by a poor understanding of whether and how eDNA concentrations relate to fish density, especially in rivers. We conducted a field study to systematically test whether the eDNA released by a model invasive fish, Silver Carp (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix), was related to the density of this species in a large river. We quantified fish density throughout the 460 km long Illinois River using hydroacoustic surveys at 23 sites while concurrently collecting 192 surface water samples for eDNA analysis. We found that Silver Carp numerical density and biomass density were positively and non-linearly related to eDNA concentration and detection rate. Both eDNA concentration (copy number) and detection rate increased rapidly as Silver Carp density increased but plateaued at moderate densities. These relationships could prove useful for estimating Silver Carp relative abundance in newly invaded locations where population numbers are low to moderate. Future studies should explore the causes of this nonlinear relationship as it would ultimately benefit aquatic species monitoring and management programs.
Project description:The difficulty of censusing marine animal populations hampers effective ocean management. Analyzing water for DNA traces shed by organisms may aid assessment. Here we tested aquatic environmental DNA (eDNA) as an indicator of fish presence in the lower Hudson River estuary. A checklist of local marine fish and their relative abundance was prepared by compiling 12 traditional surveys conducted between 1988-2015. To improve eDNA identification success, 31 specimens representing 18 marine fish species were sequenced for two mitochondrial gene regions, boosting coverage of the 12S eDNA target sequence to 80% of local taxa. We collected 76 one-liter shoreline surface water samples at two contrasting estuary locations over six months beginning in January 2016. eDNA was amplified with vertebrate-specific 12S primers. Bioinformatic analysis of amplified DNA, using a reference library of GenBank and our newly generated 12S sequences, detected most (81%) locally abundant or common species and relatively few (23%) uncommon taxa, and corresponded to seasonal presence and habitat preference as determined by traditional surveys. Approximately 2% of fish reads were commonly consumed species that are rare or absent in local waters, consistent with wastewater input. Freshwater species were rarely detected despite Hudson River inflow. These results support further exploration and suggest eDNA will facilitate fine-scale geographic and temporal mapping of marine fish populations at relatively low cost.
Project description:Stream ecosystems harbor many secretive and imperiled species, and studies of vertebrates in these systems face the challenges of relatively low detection rates and high costs. Environmental DNA (eDNA) has recently been confirmed as a sensitive and efficient tool for documenting aquatic vertebrates in wetlands and in a large river and canal system. However, it was unclear whether this tool could be used to detect low-density vertebrates in fast-moving streams where shed cells may travel rapidly away from their source. To evaluate the potential utility of eDNA techniques in stream systems, we designed targeted primers to amplify a short, species-specific DNA fragment for two secretive stream amphibian species in the northwestern region of the United States (Rocky Mountain tailed frogs, Ascaphus montanus, and Idaho giant salamanders, Dicamptodon aterrimus). We tested three DNA extraction and five PCR protocols to determine whether we could detect eDNA of these species in filtered water samples from five streams with varying densities of these species in central Idaho, USA. We successfully amplified and sequenced the targeted DNA regions for both species from stream water filter samples. We detected Idaho giant salamanders in all samples and Rocky Mountain tailed frogs in four of five streams and found some indication that these species are more difficult to detect using eDNA in early spring than in early fall. While the sensitivity of this method across taxa remains to be determined, the use of eDNA could revolutionize surveys for rare and invasive stream species. With this study, the utility of eDNA techniques for detecting aquatic vertebrates has been demonstrated across the majority of freshwater systems, setting the stage for an innovative transformation in approaches for aquatic research.
Project description:Environmental DNA (eDNA) techniques are gaining attention as cost-effective, non-invasive strategies for acquiring information on fish and other aquatic organisms from water samples. Currently, eDNA approaches are used to detect specific fish species and determine fish community diversity. Various protocols used with eDNA methods for aquatic organism detection have been reported in different eDNA studies, but there are no general recommendations for fish detection. Herein, we reviewed 168 papers to supplement and highlight the key criteria for each step of eDNA technology in fish detection and provide general suggestions for eliminating detection errors. Although there is no unified recommendation for the application of diverse eDNA in detecting fish species, in most cases, 1 or 2 L surface water collection and eDNA capture on 0.7-?m glass fiber filters followed by extraction with a DNeasy Blood and Tissue Kit or PowerWater DNA Isolation Kit are useful for obtaining high-quality eDNA. Subsequently, species-specific quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) assays based on mitochondrial cytochrome b gene markers or eDNA metabarcoding based on both 12S and 16S rRNA markers via high-throughput sequencing can effectively detect target DNA or estimate species richness. Furthermore, detection errors can be minimized by mitigating contamination, negative control, PCR replication, and using multiple genetic markers. Our aim is to provide a useful strategy for fish eDNA technology that can be applied by researchers, advisors, and managers.
Project description:Environmental DNA (eDNA) analysis provides an efficient and objective approach for monitoring and assessing ecological status; however, studies on the eDNA of aquatic insects, such as Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera, and Trichoptera (EPT), are limited despite its potential as a useful indicator of river health. Here, we investigated the community structures of aquatic insects using eDNA and evaluated the applicability of eDNA data for calculating assessment indices. Field surveys were conducted to sample river water for eDNA at six locations from upstream to downstream of two rivers in Japan in July and November 2016. Simultaneously, aquatic insects were collected using the traditional Surber net survey method. The communities of aquatic insects were revealed using eDNA by targeting the cytochrome oxidase subunit I gene in mitochondrial DNA via metabarcoding analyses. As a result, the eDNA revealed 63 families and 75 genera of aquatic insects, which was double than that detected by the Surber net survey (especially for families in Diptera and Hemiptera). The seasonal differences of communities were distinguished by both the eDNA and Surber net survey data. Furthermore, the total nitrogen concentration, a surrogate of organic pollution, showed positive correlations with biotic environmental assessment indices (i.e., EPT index and Chironomidae index) calculated using eDNA at the genus-level resolution but the indices calculated using the Surber net survey data. Our results demonstrated that eDNA analysis with higher taxonomic resolution can provide as a more sensitive environmental assessment index than the traditional method that requires biotic samples.