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Ontogeny of eDNA shedding during early development in Chinook Salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha)

October 24, 2021

Knowledge of the timing of major life history events in aquatic species is important for informing conservation and resource management planning. Accordingly, surveys of environmental DNA (eDNA) have been performed to determine the efficacy of eDNA for providing information on life history events, primarily focusing on the timing of events associated with spawning, and these studies have proved successful. However, spawning represents only one part of the life history, and therefore, information on eDNA shedding during other life history stages is needed to fill gaps in knowledge. Here, we explored eDNA shedding during early life history (from fertilized eggs until near yolk sac absorption) in Chinook Salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) at three biomasses in a laboratory environment. We found that fertilized eggs shed little eDNA prior to hatching. Hatching coincided with a spike in eDNA, and we observed a significant and positive relationship between eDNA concentration and the number of hatched eggs. The concentration of eDNA shed by larvae after hatching was not consistent across post-hatch sampling days, suggesting developmental and behavioral changes associated with larval ontogeny may affect eDNA shedding rate. These results indicate that eDNA data may be used to identify hatch timing and verify successful reproduction in oviparous aquatic fishes. The application of eDNA to early life history broadens the capacity of eDNA-based methods for assessing population status and trends.

Publication Year 2022
Title Ontogeny of eDNA shedding during early development in Chinook Salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha)
DOI 10.1002/edn3.258
Authors Carl Ostberg, Dorothy M. Chase
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Environmental DNA
Index ID 70225602
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Western Fisheries Research Center