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Behavior and season affect crayfish detection and density inference using environmental DNA [Ecology and Evolution]

Keywords : american signal crayfish, aquatic invertebrates, environmental DNA, invasives, quantitative PCR

par Frédéric Magné - publié le

Although the presence/absence of aquatic invertebrates using environmental DNA (eDNA) has been established for several species, inferring population densities has remained problematic. The invasive American signal crayfish, Pacifastacus leniusculus (Dana), is the leading cause of decline in the UK’s only native crayfish species, Austropotamobius pallipes (Lereboullet). Methods to detect species at low abundances offer the opportunity for the early detection, and potential eradication, of P. leniusculus before population densities reach threatening levels in areas occupied by A. pallipes. Using a factorial experimental design with aquaria, we investigated the impacts of biomass, sex ratio, and fighting behavior on the amount of eDNA released by P. leniusculus, with the aim to infer density per aquarium depending on treatments. The amount of target eDNA in water samples from each aquarium was measured using the quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction.(...)

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