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Tuesday, January 30 • 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Poster Display. Development of eDNA Techniques for Endangered Mussels

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AUTHORS: Keith Turnquist, Wisconsin Cooperative Fishery Research Unit, College of Natural Resources, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point; Wes Larson, U.S. Geological Survey, Wisconsin Cooperative Fishery Research Unit, College of Natural Resources, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point; Darin Simpkins, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Green Bay Ecological Service Field Office; Brian Sloss, College of Natural Resources, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

ABSTRACT: North America has the highest diversity of freshwater mussels in the world.  However, currently more than half of the known species within the Midwest are classified as federally endangered, threatened or state species of special concern.  Assessing the geographical distribution and monitoring the status of freshwater mussels, especially those that are endangered or threatened, can be a daunting task.  Typical survey methods employ extensive underwater searches for mussel beds in areas where species are suspected to occur.  Recent advancements in genetics suggests that environmental DNA (eDNA) may be useful in developing a more efficient and effective monitoring program with less disturbance risk for rare mussels.  The goal of this study was to develop eDNA techniques to detect the presence/absence of two endangered unionid mussels, the purple cat’s paw pearlymussel (Epioblasma obliquata obliquata) and snuffbox mussel (Epioblasma triquetra).  We sequenced tissue from these two species along with four other closely related species, and compared the sequences to online databases to develop qPCR assays for detecting DNA from each target species.  We then conducted sensitivity analysis to determine detection limits for each assay.  Finally, we collected water samples from areas where the species are known to occur to determine detection probabilities.  The tools developed from this project will be useful for mussel management across the Midwest. Additionally, our approach for constructing and validating eDNA assays will be applicable to many species.

Tuesday January 30, 2018 6:00pm - 9:00pm CST
Ballroom C & Foyer