Effective conservation and management of freshwater biota during an era of rapid climate change, nonnative species invasions, and habitat loss, as well as widespread efforts to maintain, restore, and expand the distributions of at-risk species, requires precise information about species distributions across broad areas. Environmental DNA (eDNA) sampling of aquatic environments offers a reliable, cost-effective, and sensitive means of determining species presence if samples are collected following rigorous field protocols (Carim et al. 2016a) and analyzed using properly designed eDNA assays (Wilcox et al. 2015a).
eDNA sampling has many advantages when compared to traditional sampling techniques. As a result, it is being rapidly adopted to address questions about the distribution of species in headwater streams (McKelvey et al. 2016) ), the success of nonnative species removals, and rangewide patterns of occupancy by individual species (Rangewide bull trout eDNA project).
To foster these efforts, the National Genomics Center for Wildlife and Fish Conservation (NGC) partners with dozens of natural resource organizations throughout North America to provide technical assistance in the form of eDNA assay development and field sampling designs for fish, amphibians, crustaceans, mussels, mammals, and birds. Samples are collected at thousands of sites annually through those partnerships and analyzed at the NGC, which has created a large database that is rapidly growing in geographic extent and species diversity.
To facilitate access to the NGC database in spatially-explicit formats that maximize the use and sharing of eDNA sampling results, as well as the efficient collection of new samples, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation commissioned the Aquatic eDNAtlas project and website.
If you have questions about the eDNAtlas project or are interested in partnering with the NGC to build eDNA assays for your species or to conduct aquatic species surveys, please visit the contacts page, which includes a one-page form for outlining your eDNA needs.
The website provides:
1) A large list of supporting science behind eDNA sampling.
2) The recommended field protocol for eDNA sampling and the equipment loan program administered by the NGC.
3) A systematically-spaced sampling grid for all flowing waters of the U.S. in a downloadable format that includes unique database identifiers and geographic coordinates for all sampling sites. Available for download in an Geodatabase or available by ArcGIS Online map. This sampling grid can be used to determine your field collection sites to contribute.
4) The lab results of eDNA sampling at those sites where project partners have agreed to share data.
Cite as: Young, Michael K.; Isaak, Daniel J.; Schwartz, Michael K.; McKelvey, Kevin S.; Nagel, David E.; Franklin, Thomas W.; Greaves, Samuel E.; Dysthe, J. Caleb; Pilgrim, Kristine L.; Chandler, Gwynne L.; Wollrab, Sherry P.; Carim, Kellie J.; Wilcox, Taylor M.; Parkes-Payne, Sharon L.; Horan, Dona L. 2018. Species occurrence data from the aquatic eDNAtlas database. Fort Collins, CO: Forest Service Research Data Archive. Updated 28 February 2019. https://doi.org/10.2737/RDS-2018-0010.