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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes

eDNA Trailer Shines in First Field Season

Region 3, September 27, 2013
eDNA Trailer set up on the one of the many rivers sampled in 2013
eDNA Trailer set up on the one of the many rivers sampled in 2013 - Photo Credit: n/a
Staff utilizing eDNA trailer to process water samples for Eurasian Ruffe with the University of Notre Dame and Central Michigan University
Staff utilizing eDNA trailer to process water samples for Eurasian Ruffe with the University of Notre Dame and Central Michigan University - Photo Credit: n/a

Despite the uncertainty associated with implementing the Alpena Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office’s custom-built “mobile lab” trailer into the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's eDNA Early Detection Program, I had high hopes that the trailer would prove to be an important asset to the program. These high hopes proved to be well founded during the trailer’s first full field season.

During May through September 2013, the trailer traveled over 6,600 miles, providing assistance to four Midwest Region U.S. Fish and Wildlife Conservation Offices, and one partner agency. Approximately 2,600 water samples were processed in the trailer during this time frame. The trailer allowed staff to improve water sample processing efficiency by reducing the amount of time it takes to process one lot of 25 samples. Prior to utilizing the trailer, processing one lot took 3 to 4 hours from collection to filtration. With the trailer, processing time was reduced to 1 ½ to 2 ½ hours for a single lot. This reduction allowed program staff to increase the number of samples processed in a single day to 125 to 200, versus the 75 to 100 without the trailer.

The trailer has been a huge asset for the Midwest Region’s Early Detection Program for Asian carps. The eDNA trailer has benefited not only Service offices based around the Great Lakes, but also offices located around rivers as well. The eDNA trailer was utilized on the Chicago Area Waterway System (CAWS) for sample processing and in a Eurasian Ruffe screening project partnership with the University of Notre Dame. The eDNA trailer proved to be such an outstanding tool that the Midwest Region has purchased two identical trailers to be used in future field seasons. As we plan for the 2014 field season, I am confident these additional trailers will have as much success as the Alpena Office's trailer did in its first field season.

Contact Info: Chris Olds, 989-356-5102 Ext. 1018, chris_olds@fws.gov