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Environmental DNA detection of the giant freshwater crayfish (Astacopsis gouldi)


Trujillo-Gonzalez, A and Hinlo, R and Godwin, S and Barmuta, LA and Watson, A and Turner, P and Koch, A and Gleeson, D, Environmental DNA detection of the giant freshwater crayfish (Astacopsis gouldi), Environmental DNA pp. 1-9. ISSN 2637-4943 (2021) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Copyright 2021 the authors. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0)

DOI: doi:10.1002/edn3.204


The giant freshwater crayfish, Astacopsis gouldi Clark, 1936, is an endangered endemic freshwater species native to Northern Tasmania. Habitat loss, fishing pressure, and climate change have been identified as threatening processes. The Australian government approved a recovery plan for A. gouldi in 2017 that requires routine population surveys to assess the impact of ongoing threats and recovery actions. We developed a novel species-specific probe-based assay targeting a 219 bp fragment in the Cytochrome Oxidase 1 gene region to detect traces of A. gouldi DNA in environmental samples as a cost-effective, sensitive, and non-invasive surveillance method to assess the presence of this endangered species. We tested assay specificity against ten crayfish species commonly found in Tasmania within the Astacopsis, Cherax, Geocharax, Engaeus, and Ombrastacoides genera and determined assay sensitivity using tissue-derived genomic DNA and synthetic oligo standards designed for Agouldi. We then tested water samples collected from aquaria and natural freshwater streams in Northern Tasmania with known occurrence of A. gouldi, as well as one site with no known A. gouldi occurrence. The probe-based assay designed in this study successfully detected A. gouldi DNA and eDNA with a 10 copies/µl limit of detection and showed no amplification of non-targeted co-existing crayfish species. We successfully detected the presence of A. gouldi eDNA in water samples from six sites with known occurrences of the species. There was no detection from the negative site. This study validates the use of eDNA-based detection of A. gouldi by real-time PCR as a non-invasive monitoring tool to assist field monitoring, assessment, and complement ongoing recovery actions to protect habitable ecosystems of A. gouldi.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:conservation, ecology, eDNA, endangered species, fresh water, Parastacidae
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Freshwater ecology
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Fresh, ground and surface water systems and management
Objective Field:Fresh, ground and surface water systems and management not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Barmuta, LA (Associate Professor Leon Barmuta)
UTAS Author:Watson, A (Dr Anne Watson)
UTAS Author:Turner, P (Dr Perpetua Turner)
UTAS Author:Koch, A (Ms Amelia Koch)
ID Code:145029
Year Published:2021
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2021-06-25
Last Modified:2021-12-15
Downloads:10 View Download Statistics

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