Using eDNA to document the distribution of Prussian carp in Alberta
Prussian carp is a recent invasive fish species to Alberta, now believed to be widely distributed in the Bow, Red Deer, and South Saskatchewan River drainages. Initial surveys suggest their population and range is expanding exponentially across the province and may be having a negative impact on native species; however, the degree to which the range of Prussian carp has expanded, and scope of their potential impacts remains unclear. In 2018, ACA used environmental DNA to determine the distribution of Prussian carp in Alberta. We detected Prussian carp DNA at 12 of 83 sampled sites, confirming the presence of Prussian carp in the Red Deer, Bow, Oldman, and South Saskatchewan river drainages. We found no evidence of Prussian carp DNA in the Athabasca, Battle, Beaver, McLeod, Milk, North Saskatchewan, Peace, Pembina, or Smoky rivers. Our results genetically confirm drainages previously identified as Prussian carp positive and expand the known range of Prussian carp. Furthermore, they provide additional evidence that Prussian carp have not spread beyond known positive drainages into other major mainstems in the province. Our results will help contribute to the knowledge and information needed to develop effective control and management plans for this invasive species.
Alberta Environment and Parks, University of Alberta – Dr. Mark Poesch, Fisheries and Aquatic Conservation Lab
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