Environmental DNA (eDNA) sampling for freshwater species: a practitioner’s perspective on its development, characteristics, and applications to fish passage and aquatic connectivity


Kellie J. Carim, U.S. Forest Service, National Genomics Center for Wildlife and Fish Conservation, USA


Dan Shively and John Rothlisberger, U.S. Forest Service, Washington Office, USA

Michael Schwartz, Michael Young, and Kevin McKelvey, U.S. Forest Service, National Genomics Center for Wildlife and Fish Conservation, USA

Dan Isaak, U.S. Forest Service, Boise Spatial Streams Group, Idaho, USA

Cost: $50 AUD / $40 USD                              Numbers: 10 – 35 Delegates


We are living in an era where threats to freshwater species are multifaceted and wide spread. Freshwater ecosystems world-wide are threatened by obstructions to fish passage, rapid change in climate, the spread of invasive species, and habitat destruction. As a result, effective conservation and management of freshwater species requires unprecedented levels of coordination and high-quality information to guide decision-making. Unfortunately, often simple data on species presence are lacking for many freshwater taxa, whether to describe a species' distribution in a single stream, throughout a river basin, or across its range. A revolution in the assessment of aquatic species based on detecting their DNA in water samples—environmental DNA (eDNA) sampling—promises to overcome this impediment. This full day course will highlight the best applications of eDNA for addressing critical knowledge gaps related to freshwater species presence and distribution, with particular emphasis on passage issues for aquatic species.


The objective of this course is to educate participants on the process of eDNA sample collection, analysis and interpretation (including issues of sample contamination and considerations for single species versus multi-species detections via metabarcoding), while highlighting the primary advantages and current limitations of this tool. Information will be presented primarily through case studies from around the world, including instruction and perspectives by Australian researchers also making advances in this new technology.