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Application of environmental DNA to detect an endangered marine skate species in the wild


Weltz, K and Lyle, JM and Ovenden, J and Morgan, JAT and Moreno, DA and Semmens, JM, Application of environmental DNA to detect an endangered marine skate species in the wild, PLoS One, 12, (6) Article e0178124. ISSN 1932-6203 (2017) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

2017 Weltz et al. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

DOI: doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0178124


Environmental DNA (eDNA) techniques have only recently been applied in the marine environment to detect the presence of marine species. Species-specific primers and probes were designed to detect the eDNA of the endangered Maugean skate (Zearaja maugeana) from as little as 1L of water collected at depth (10-15m) in Macquarie Harbour (MH), Tasmania. The identity of the eDNA was confirmed as Z. maugeana by sequencing the qPCR products and aligning these with the target sequence for a 100% match. This result has validated the use of this eDNA technique for detecting a rare species, Z. maugeana, in the wild. Being able to investigate the presence, and possibly the abundance, of Z. maugeana in MH and Bathurst harbour (BH), would be addressing a conservation imperative for the endangered Z. maugeana. For future application of this technique in the field, the rate of decay was determined for Z. maugeana eDNA under ambient dissolved oxygen (DO) levels (55% saturation) and lower DO (20% saturation) levels, revealing that the eDNA can be detected for 4 and 16 hours respectively, after which eDNA concentration drops below the detection threshold of the assay. With the rate of decay being influenced by starting eDNA concentrations, it is recommended that samples be filtered as soon as possible after collection to minimize further loss of eDNA prior to and during sample processing.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:environmental DNA, endangered species, Maugean skate
Research Division:Agricultural, Veterinary and Food Sciences
Research Group:Fisheries sciences
Research Field:Fish physiology and genetics
Objective Division:Animal Production and Animal Primary Products
Objective Group:Fisheries - wild caught
Objective Field:Fisheries - wild caught not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Weltz, K (Miss Kay Weltz)
UTAS Author:Lyle, JM (Associate Professor Jeremy Lyle)
UTAS Author:Moreno, DA (Mr David Moreno)
UTAS Author:Semmens, JM (Professor Jayson Semmens)
ID Code:117446
Year Published:2017
Web of Science® Times Cited:47
Deposited By:Sustainable Marine Research Collaboration
Deposited On:2017-06-14
Last Modified:2018-03-20
Downloads:138 View Download Statistics

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