Use of next-generation sequencing for the dietary analyses of smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieu) stomach content

Science Center Objects

The USGS Leetown Science Center (USGS LSC) scientists are collaborating with the PADEP (SMB) to develop and evaluate a genetic assay for fish diets that will allow us to develop a cost-effective monitoring program for determining the diet of wild fish.   We will test the utility of this method and, once fully developed, these methods could be generally applied in many other piscivorous species of management importance across our Nation. Like previous USGS pioneering of environmental DNA detection methodologies in aquatic biotic surveys, our work will be at the forefront of this emerging field of molecular ecology. This method not only allows us to determine the diet of piscivorous fish, but to potentially follow the spread of invasive species through waterways.

Study Objective: We will test and apply amplicon sequencing assays for dietary analyses of smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieu) within the Susquehanna River.

Technician using the Illumina MiSeq

The Illumina MiSeq platform has allowed us to develop new metabarcoding approaches to determine diet in fish species.

(Credit: Deborah Iwanowicz, USGS Leetown Science Center. Public domain.)

Smallmouth Bass

Smallmouth Bass underwater

(Credit: Gretchen Hansen. )