Establishing standards and integrating environmental DNA (eDNA) data into the USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species database

Science Center Objects

Environmental DNA (eDNA) testing allows for high sensitivity monitoring efforts of cryptic species in large, remote systems and is performed by investigating water and soil samples for sloughed DNA. Having access to eDNA datasets across multiple taxa and ecosystems is necessary for improved coordination among researchers and management. Additionally, quality control protocols are needed to vet ...

Environmental DNA (eDNA) testing allows for high sensitivity monitoring efforts of cryptic species in large, remote systems and is performed by investigating water and soil samples for sloughed DNA. Having access to eDNA datasets across multiple taxa and ecosystems is necessary for improved coordination among researchers and management. Additionally, quality control protocols are needed to vet incoming database submissions. We developed a mechanism to submit eDNA data to the USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species (NAS) database, which currently maps and displays visual identification or physical capture data for non-native aquatic species. We have been working within the invasive species and eDNA communities to establish a conservative set of standards to verify eDNA geospatial occurrence data. Through submission of a pre-submission survey to verify these standards have successfully been met, a user will be able to submit their data for display on the eDNA layer of the NAS database’s online national viewer.



Image caption: Cartoon presenting study flow: from compiling best practices and standards from published research, to engagement with the eDNA research community for input and feedback, and finally culminating in a mechanism to integrate eDNA into the Nonindigenous Aquatic Species (NAS) database, which functions to display high quality data from verified sources.