BOR environmental DNA sampling for invasive mussels at USGS gages

Science Center Objects

As part of an ongoing project funded by the Bureau of Reclamation and lead by the Idaho Water Sciences Center (IDWSC) and Northern Rocky Mountain Research Center (NOROCK), the Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center (UMESC) will analyze environmental DNA samples collected at gage stations directly downstream of multiple reservoirs throughout the Columbia River Basin. The goal of this project is to evaluate whether USGS gage stations are suitable locations for collecting eDNA samples to monitoring dreissenid mussel introduction into upstream reservoirs.


Gage stations immediately downstream of seven reservoirs in the Pacific Northwest will be sampled by staff of a nearby Water Sciences Center six times during spring/summer/fall of 2018. Sampling will begin once water temperatures are greater than 12°C. At each sampling time, the hydrotech will collect 6 water samples (~ 1 L each), filter them, and then ship filters to UMESC for analysis. Samples from two additional sites will be collected to serve as positive controls: Zumbro River at Zumbro Falls in Minnesota and the Colorado River near Yuma Arizona. Samples from the Zumbro River will be sampled once prior to initiating the study to demonstrate that the field techniques planned will allow for detection of dreissenid mussels. Samples from the Colorado River will serve as a positive control and will be sampled at the same periodicity as other stations.

The role of UMESC is to simply extract the DNA from these samples and analyze them for the presence of DNA from dreissenid mussels and a native fish (yellow perch and Kokanee). UMESC will analyze a total of 324 eDNA samples. Since this project is led by IDWSC and NOROCK, they are responsible for the development of the study plan at their respective centers. This document is to solely cover the laboratory procedures that will be conducted at UMESC to extract and analyze the DNA from these 324 samples for their study.    



1. Extract DNA from each sample

2. Analyze DNA for each sample for the presence of dreissenid mussel DNA

3. Analyze the DNA for each sample for the presence of yellow perch and Kokanee DNA