Thursday March 14, 2024

NOAA Fisheries

Scientists are increasingly using environmental DNA to detect species in the marine environment. However, in the ocean, physical variables including temperature, depth, salinity, currents, and tides can all affect eDNA dispersal. This makes it difficult to interpret eDNA results and determine the location of animals relative to eDNA detections. In a recent study, scientists examined the influence of distance and tides on the distribution and concentration of eDNA from chum salmon in net pens in southeast Alaska.

“There have been very few studies in the marine environment that track the distance that eDNA can disperse,” said Diana Baetscher, a research geneticist at the Alaska Fisheries Science Center. “This study addresses one of the critical knowledge gaps in applying eDNA to marine fisheries management.”

Scientists found a hatchery net pen, containing more than 46 million juvenile chum salmon in nearshore waters of southeast Alaska, was the perfect site for their experiment. Their goal was to learn how far eDNA traveled from the site and how much of a role tides played in dispersing the eDNA.

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