Juniata College Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, United States
Mary Oster (Juniata College)| Sharon Yohn (Juniata College)| Lisa Gentile (College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University)
Recent advances in genomic sequencing across species have aided in the identification of genetic barcodes capable of distinguishing between closely related species based solely on their genetic material. PCR analysis of the genetic material shed by living organisms into their environment, Environmental DNA (eDNA), is an application of the barcodes for species found with large scale sequencing. Studying eDNA holds potential for improving the monitoring and eradication of invasive species while decreasing the costs of populations surveys. Focusing on two aquatic invasive plants threatening waterways in the Eastern United States, Hydrilla verticillata and Myriophyllum spicatum, we are developing a method for studying the presence of invasive aquatic plants through the eDNA they produce in Raystown Lake. Our aim is to produce primers specific for the detection of each plant species’ eDNA in water samples taken from Raystown Lake. Thus far, we have succeeded in creating effective primers for each species, and are working on conditions that will produce species specificity. Results from this work will be compared to samples from Raystown Lake to population data gathered at the same location by the Army Corps of Engineers to better inform management efforts for invasive aquatic plants in the region.
Support or Funding Information
Support for this project came from the Juniata College Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, the Raystown Field Station, and Charles Yohn