Science Inventory

Development of DNA-based Identification methods to track the species composition of fish larvae within nearshore areas of the Great Lakes

Citation:

Meredith, C., J. Hoffman, A. Trebitz, Greg Peterson, J. Lietz, C. Hatzenbuhler, E. Pilgrim, S. Okum, AND J. Martinson. Development of DNA-based Identification methods to track the species composition of fish larvae within nearshore areas of the Great Lakes. Minnesota Chapter of the American Fisheries Society, St. Cloud, MN, February 21 - 23, 2017.

Impact/Purpose:

The ability to track the identity and abundance of larval fish, which are ubiquitous during spawning season, may lead to a greater understanding of fish species distributions in Great Lakes nearshore areas including early-detection of invasive fish species before they become established.

Description:

The ability to track the identity and abundance of larval fish, which are ubiquitous during spawning season, may lead to a greater understanding of fish species distributions in Great Lakes nearshore areas including early-detection of invasive fish species before they become established. However, larval fish are notoriously hard to identify using traditional morphological techniques. While DNA-based identification methods could increase the ability of aquatic resource managers to determine larval fish composition, use of these methods in aquatic surveys is still uncommon and presents many challenges. In response to this need, we have been working with the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service to develop field and laboratory methods to facilitate the identification of larval fish using DNA-meta-barcoding. In 2012, we initiated a pilot-project to develop a workflow for conducting DNA-based identification, and compared the species composition at sites within the St. Louis River Estuary of Lake Superior using traditional identification versus DNA meta-barcoding. In 2013, we extended this research to conduct DNA-identification of fish larvae collected from multiple nearshore areas of the Great Lakes by the USFWS. The species composition of larval fish generally mirrored that of fish species known from the same areas, but was influenced by the timing and intensity of sampling. Results indicate that DNA-based identification needs only very low levels of biomass to detect presence of a species, can reveal taxa not identifiable using morphology (including eggs and non-native species), and can also reveal errors in morphological identification. This work will inform our goal of incorporating DNA-based taxonomy into aquatic inventories into the future.

Record Details:

Record Type: DOCUMENT (PRESENTATION/SLIDE)
Product Published Date: 02/23/2017
Record Last Revised: 03/02/2017
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 335604

Organization:

U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

NATIONAL HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS RESEARCH LABORATORY

MID-CONTINENT ECOLOGY DIVISION