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Round goby detection in Lakes Huron and Michigan— An evaluation of eDNA and fish catches

January 6, 2023

Aquatic surveys for fish in large water bodies (e.g., Laurentian Great Lakes of North America) often require a flexible approach using multiple methods, surveying different depths, and sampling across seasons, especially when the target species is elusive in its natural habitat. The round goby (Neogobius melanostomus) is an invasive, bottom-dwelling fish inhabiting rocky areas of all five Great Lakes. While trawl surveys are typically used for abundance assessments, angling has been demonstrated as a means of supplementing surveys with additional data. Yet, round goby abundance and distribution is still not well described. Recently, with considerable success, scientists have explored sampling environmental DNA (eDNA) to complement traditional monitoring techniques for population abundance estimates, early detection of invasive species, and spawning or migration events. Therefore, we collected eDNA from water samples alongside bottom trawls and hook and line angling in Lakes Huron and Michigan to detect round goby. eDNA samples were analyzed by both droplet digital PCR (ddPCR) and quantitative PCR (qPCR) to maximize the likelihood of detection. Overall, round goby was captured in 23% of the trawls, but the eDNA based methods detected round goby in 74% and 66% of samples by ddPCR and qPCR, respectively, mostly in samples collected at <30 m depths, and mostly in the fall. More studies comparing eDNA based methods to traditional monitoring, especially trawls in large open waters, may contribute to a better understanding of using eDNA in population assessments.

Publication Year 2023
Title Round goby detection in Lakes Huron and Michigan— An evaluation of eDNA and fish catches
DOI 10.3390/fishes8010041
Authors Katarzyna Przybyla-Kelly, Ashley M. Spoljaric, Meredith B. Nevers
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Fishes
Index ID 70239371
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Great Lakes Science Center