Determining the Distribution of Invasive Prussian Carp (Carassius gibelio) in Alberta Using Environmental DNA
Britt Schmidt and Dr. Mark Poesch
Invasive species have been identified as one of the greatest ecological and economic threats to aquatic ecosystems. Prussian carp (Carassius gibelio) is an invasive fish species to North America, with earliest records indicating their introduction to Alberta in 2000. Initial surveys suggest their population and range are expanding exponentially across the province and having a negative impact on native fish species; however, the degree to which the range of Prussian carp has spread remains unclear. In 2018 and 2019, we sampled water at 83 sites for Prussian carp environmental DNA (eDNA) across Alberta. Our results indicate the presence of Prussian carp eDNA in the Bow, Red Deer, Oldman and South Saskatchewan river watersheds. We found no evidence of Prussian carp DNA in the Athabasca, Battle, Beaver, Milk, North Saskatchewan or Peace river watersheds. Our results provide a comprehensive distribution of Prussian carp in Alberta in 2019 that can be used as a valuable tool in the future management of this invasive species.