Title

Assessing occupancy of amphibians using environmental DNA on Snoqualmie Pass.

Presenter Information

Sara Richbourg
David Reavill
Craig Fergus

Document Type

Oral Presentation

Location

SURC Ballroom C/D

Start Date

15-5-2014

End Date

15-5-2014

Keywords

Amphibians, Environmental DNA, qPCR

Abstract

We used a molecular genetic technique, the quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR), to assess the occupancy of species (coastal tailed frogs and Pacific giant salamanders) on Snoqualmie Pass. Traditional methods of detecting amphibians involve visual encounter surveys, trapping, or hand capturing. Detection can be challenging because amphibians are cryptic and can vary their use of habitat seasonally. Aquatic species shed DNA into the environment. Therefore, we used an environmental DNA (eDNA) approach to non-invasively detect amphibians at four sites on Snoqualmie Pass. For each site, we collected four replicate samples by filtering one liter of water for each and a distilled water control for a total of 20 samples. Then DNA was extracted and then quantitative PCR reactions conducted using species-specific primers for the mtDNA cytrochrome b gene. This technique will be a valuable tool to assess if amphibians colonize new areas as barriers are removed and crossing structures built to enhance connectivity in the Snoqualmie Pass corridor.

Poster Number

30

Faculty Mentor(s)

Wagner, Steve; Goldberg, Caren

Additional Mentoring Department

Biological Sciences

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May 15th, 8:30 AM May 15th, 11:00 AM

Assessing occupancy of amphibians using environmental DNA on Snoqualmie Pass.

SURC Ballroom C/D

We used a molecular genetic technique, the quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR), to assess the occupancy of species (coastal tailed frogs and Pacific giant salamanders) on Snoqualmie Pass. Traditional methods of detecting amphibians involve visual encounter surveys, trapping, or hand capturing. Detection can be challenging because amphibians are cryptic and can vary their use of habitat seasonally. Aquatic species shed DNA into the environment. Therefore, we used an environmental DNA (eDNA) approach to non-invasively detect amphibians at four sites on Snoqualmie Pass. For each site, we collected four replicate samples by filtering one liter of water for each and a distilled water control for a total of 20 samples. Then DNA was extracted and then quantitative PCR reactions conducted using species-specific primers for the mtDNA cytrochrome b gene. This technique will be a valuable tool to assess if amphibians colonize new areas as barriers are removed and crossing structures built to enhance connectivity in the Snoqualmie Pass corridor.