Conventional methods of stock monitoring are unsuitable for certain fish species. For example, the infestation of an area with invasive Ponto-Caspian gobies cannot be identified in time by standard methods. Researchers at the University of Basel have developed a simple, effective and cost-efficient test for these introduced non-native fish, they report in the magazine PLOS ONE.
Gobies from the Black and Caspian Sea are spreading along the shipping routes in Central Europe and North America. They have been present in the Swiss part of the Rhine for about four years and already dominate the bottom of the stream in the region of Basel. So far, they have not advanced further than the water power plant in Rheinfelden, but a continuing expansion seems inevitable.
Current methods of fish monitoring are not suited to adequately measure the spreading of Ponto-Caspian gobies as they are labor-intensive and not sufficiently sensitive. Accordingly, infestations of an area with gobies are often only discovered when they have reached high densities and efforts of containment remain futile. Researchers of the Department of Environmental Sciences of the University of Basel have now developed a test that allows for the detection of Ponto-Caspian gobies in streaming and stagnant water.
Measuring the environmental DNA
With a commercially available, though slightly modified, water column sampler, water samples are taken from the bottom of the water body, where invasive gobies live. Via feces or scales, the fish release so-called environmental DNA into the stream. The water samples are then analyzed for traces of this so-called eDNA in the lab. The test developed at the University of Basel reacts exclusively to the genetic material of Ponto-Caspian gobies, but not to domestic fish species.
The procedure is less time and cost-intensive than angling, and the samples can even be drawn by untrained individuals. Unlike electrofishing, the method does not impact the fish fauna and can consequently be used in protected zones and breeding grounds.
First test for lotic water
Five species of invasive gobies populate wide areas of freshwater and brackish waters in Central Europe – the species that is most common to the region around Basel, Neogobius melanostomus, even figures among the 100 worst invaders in Europe.
“Our test is one of the first approaches that targets a specific fish species and detects it successfully in flowing freshwater” says the study’s lead author, Dr. Irene Adrian-Kalchhauser. “We hope that our work contributes to establishing eDNA as a standard method in European water resource management. Similar tests have been used for a few years to track the expansion of the Asian carp in the United States.”
Irene Adrian-Kalchhauser, Patricia Burkhardt-Holm
An eDNA assay to monitor a globally invasive fish species from flowing freshwater
PLOS ONE 11 (1) | doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0147558
Dr. Irene Adrian-Kalchhauser, University of Basel, Department of Environmental Sciences, Tel. +41 61 26704 10, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reto Caluori | Universität Basel
Mass spectrometry sheds new light on thallium poisoning cold case
14.12.2018 | University of Maryland
Protein involved in nematode stress response identified
14.12.2018 | University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.
Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...
What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...
A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.
The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...
A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.
Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...
Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...
12.12.2018 | Event News
10.12.2018 | Event News
06.12.2018 | Event News
14.12.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy