Novel approach using flocculation to concentrate edna to search for early invasions of specific aquatic invasive species

Science Center Objects

Early detection systems for aquatic nuisance species have been improved by the advancement of polymerase chain reactions that amplify DNA sequences for decoding. 

These methods have been used to identify prey of invasive fishes and detect occurrence of nuisance species when macro-organism survey methods fail.  In some cases, detection of nuisance species that could reproduce require molecular methods, such as in the case with triploid grass carp that are caught in Maryland but stocked in neighboring states.  While broadly useful, molecular methods have not been evaluated as early detection tools in tidal or non-tidal waters of Maryland.  Such evaluation is necessary to: 1) ensure that well-established protocols used elsewhere are effectively assimilated by state agencies in Maryland; 2) develop infrastructure for conducting the work in the State; 3) provide relevant, regional information to statewide constituents; and 4) establish the limitations of the results in managing aquatic nuisance species in Maryland.  Results of this study will be useful beyond Maryland’s needs as the invasive species targeted for investigation in this study are problematic in other areas and nationally.


  1. The primary objective is to analyze molecular data to examine the relationship of relative abundance and concentration of a suite of invasive plant, animal, and microbe environmental DNA in water samples using a novel concentration method.
  2. Published eDNA analysis may not exist for some target species of interest.  Methods will be developed for these.


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Flocked eDNA concentrate once liquid removed

Flocked eDNA concentrate once liquid removed

(Credit: Kay M. Briggs, USGS Leetown Science Center. Public domain.)

Water samples thawing in preparation for eDNA analysis

Water samples thawing in preparation for eDNA analysis

(Credit: Kay M. Briggs, USGS Leetown Science Center. Public domain.)