Establishing and implementing eDNA as a molecular technique to assess the presence of Asian carp in large Minnesota rivers

Project manager: Peter Sorensen

Phase I Description: Initial plans for this activity included working collaboratively with the USGS, DNR, and National Park Service  to validate findings of earlier sampling of Minnesota waters for the presence of eDNA from both Asian carp and common carp. The results of this work (which showed, among other things, that the earlier findings could not be validated) led us to suggest that the particular variant to the eDNA technique used at the time of our sampling not be adopted by DNR as a routine tool to guide Asian carp management.

The work under this activity then changed to include sampling of waters for archival and research purposes and advising DNR on developing a science-based Asian carp monitoring plan for the state. More recently, the USFWS has spearheaded coordination of the development of a statewide plan. Once the plan is finalized, this activity will likely change to include archival of samples, reanalysis if appropriate, providing scientific guidance as part of larger coordinated USFWS plan, and conducting experiments to facilitate data interpretation. For Minnesota, we are primarily concerned with failure to date to detect Bighead carp when a small population is present (i.e. false negatives). This project has been extended and amended and now includes an experiment with the St. Anthony Falls laboratory.

Project start date: 2012

Estimated project end date: 2016, Phase 2 to continue through 2018

Updates and progress:

Detection of Environmental DNA of Bigheaded Carps in Samples Collected from Selected Locations in the St. Croix River and in the Mississippi River (2013) (published paper)

New test results show no DNA evidence of Asian carp, but scientists urge continued action (press release)

Study: No Evidence of Asian Carp DNA in Two Major Minnesota Rivers (MAISRC in the news)

Few if any Asian carp in St. Croix, Mississippi rivers (press release)

Selected highlights of the 2012 analysis of environmental DNA of Asian Carps in samples collected from selected locations in the St. Croix River and in the Mississippi River