In many North American rivers, populations of multiple species of non-native cyprinid fishes are present, including black carp (Mylpharyngodon piceus), grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella), bighead carp (Hypophthalmichthys nobilis), silver carp (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix), common carp (Cyprinus carpio), and goldfish (Carassius auratus). All six of these species are found in the Mississippi River basin and tracking their invasion has proven difficult, particularly where abundance is low. Knowledge of the location of the invasion front is valuable to natural resource managers because future ecological and economic damages can be most effectively prevented when populations are low. To test the accuracy of environmental DNA (eDNA) as an early indicator of species occurrence and relative abundance, we applied eDNA technology to the six non-native cyprinid species putatively present in a 2.6 river mile stretch of the Chicago (IL, USA) canal system that was subsequently treated with piscicide. The proportion of water samples yielding positive detections increased with relative abundance of the six species, as indicated by the number of carcasses recovered after poisoning. New markers for black carp, grass carp, and a common carp/goldfish are reported and details of the marker testing to ensure specificity are provided.
Additional publication details
Validation of eDNA surveillance sensitivity for detection of Asian carps in controlled and field experiments