Distribution and seasonal differences in Pacific Lamprey and Lampetra spp eDNA across 18 Puget Sound watersheds

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Lampreys have a worldwide distribution, are functionally important to ecological communities and serve significant roles in many cultures. In Pacific coast drainages of North America, lamprey populations have suffered large declines. However, lamprey population status and trends within many areas of this region are unknown and such information is needed for advancing conservation goals. We developed two quantitative PCR-based, aquatic environmental DNA (eDNA) assays for detection of Pacific Lamprey (Entosphenus tridentatus) and Lampetra spp, using locked nucleic acids (LNAs) in the probe design. We used these assays to characterize the spatial distribution of lamprey in 18 watersheds of Puget Sound, Washington, by collecting water samples in spring and fall. Pacific Lamprey and Lampetraspp were each detected in 14 watersheds and co-occurred in 10 watersheds. Lamprey eDNA detection rates were much higher in spring compared to fall. Specifically, the Pacific Lamprey eDNA detection rate was 3.5 times higher in spring and the Lampetra spp eDNA detection rate was 1.5 times higher in spring even though larval lamprey are present in streams year-round. This significant finding highlights the importance of seasonality on eDNA detection. Higher stream discharge in the fall likely contributed to reduced eDNA detection rates, although seasonal life history events may have also contributed. These eDNA assays differentiate Pacific Lamprey and Lampetra spp across much of their range along the west coast of North America. Sequence analysis indicates the Pacific Lamprey assay also targets other Entosphenus spp and indicates the Lampetra spp assay may have limited or no capability of detecting Lampetra in some locations south of the Columbia River Basin. Nevertheless, these assays will serve as a valuable tool for resource managers and have direct application to lamprey conservation efforts, such as mapping species distributions, occupancy modeling, and monitoring translocations and reintroductions.

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Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Distribution and seasonal differences in Pacific Lamprey and Lampetra spp eDNA across 18 Puget Sound watersheds
Series title PeerJ
DOI 10.7717/peerj.4496
Volume 6
Year Published 2018
Language English
Publisher PeerJ
Contributing office(s) Western Fisheries Research Center
Description e4496; 25 p.
First page 1
Last page 25
Country United States
Other Geospatial Puget Sound
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