Asian Carp Distribution Study Using Environmental DNA (eDNA)
The overall goal of this study is to determine the extent of Bighead Carp (Hypophthalmichthys nobilis) and Silver Carp (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix) presence in tributary systems of Harry S. Truman Reservoir located in westcentral Missouri using environmental DNA (eDNA) techniques. Silver carp (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix) and bighead carp (H. nobilis) are species of Asian carp that are native to north and northeast Asia. These carp have been introduced to or spread to at least 88 countries around the world including the U.S., where they were introduced to control algae growth in aquaculture and municipal wastewater treatment facilities. There is concern that these introduced planktivores will compete with native planktivorous fishes, such as paddlefish (Polyodon spathula), gizzard shad (Dorosoma cepedianum), and sport fish at some time during their life cycle. Tracking the spread of these species into waterbodies is critical to the success of all management efforts, since the best management opportunities occur when population densities are low.
Water samples from the study sites will be analyzed for carp eDNA. The interpretation of the eDNA results will be limited to an assumed carp presence or absence based on the site test outcome. It is projected that positive “hits” will invoke follow up efforts including re-sampling and collection of multiple samples, coupled with additional sampling further upstream to better determine the extent of possible occurrences.