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Yesterday, I went to a talk on using environmental DNA to trace the spread of Asian carp. Asian carp actually refers to a number of different species of invasive carp in the U.S. including silver carp (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix) and bighead carp (Hypophthalmichthys nobilis). The really amazing (and potentially dangerous) thing about silver carp is that it jumps out of the water whenever it’s scared, often by motorized boats and personal watercraft. Here’s a video that was taken along the Wabash River, which is right in my neighborhood:
Anyway, back to the environmental DNA. There are a lot of studies that use molecular techniques to trace the effects and origins of introduced species that became invasive, but this is one of the first studies I know of that uses molecular techniques to track down an invasive species at the frontier of its invaded range, which can make a huge difference in preventing its spread. If you’re interested in more info, check out: http://edna.nd.edu/Environmental_DNA_at_ND/Home.html.