Amphibian Monitoring Using Environmental DNA

Environmental DNA, or eDNA, refers to the DNA that organisms leave behind or shed as they pass through the environment. DNA technology has evolved to allow researchers to detect DNA signatures from material such as mucus, feces, urine, or sloughed skin that is naturally contained within pond water and aquatic sediment. We have worked towards a reliable method of detecting amphibians using eDNA. The first phase of this work involved a MSc project developing an approach for detecting three amphibians in water and aquatic sediment samples. The second phase involved a partnership with Washington State University to further refine and evaluate water and aquatic sediment sampling methods. In 2018, we adjusted our eDNA sampling methods to ensure more complete coverage of study ponds so that target species were more fully represented in the set of samples collected. This new strategy improved our ability to detect certain species that occur in either lower densities or have tadpoles with schooling behaviour that may result in patchy distribution of their eDNA in a pond. The water filtration technique was as good as field surveys for confirming the presence of boreal toads, wood frogs, and boreal chorus frogs at the ponds sampled; whereas detection was lower using aquatic sediment at 78%. These results indicate eDNA sampling can be an effective alternative to more traditional amphibian monitoring methods.

Partnerships

Alberta Environment and Parks, Shell Canada Energy, Washington State University – Caren Goldberg

Annual Summaries

We are working hard to upload all past summaries. If there is a report you would like to see that isn't presently here, please email info@ab-conservation.com

Title Year Category
Amphibian Monitoring Using Environmental DNA (eDNA) 2012-2013 2
Amphibian Monitoring Using Environmental DNA 2013-2014 2
Amphibian Monitoring Using Environmental DNA 2014-2015 2
Amphibian Monitoring Using Environmental DNA 2015-2016 2
Amphibian Monitoring Using Environmental DNA 2016-2017 2
Amphibian Monitoring Using Environmental DNA 2017-2018 2
Amphibian Monitoring Using Environmental DNA 2018-2019 2