eDNA Trailer Shines in First Field Season
BY CHRIS OLDS, ALPENA FWCO
University of Notre Dame and Central Michigan University. Credit: USFWS
Despite the uncertainty associated with implementing the Alpena Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office’s (FWCO) custom-built “mobile lab” trailer into the FWCO’s eDNA Early Detection Program (Program) , Fish Biologist Chris Olds 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 was hauled over 6600 miles, providing assistance to four Midwest Region Fish and Wildlife Conservation Offices and one partner agency. Approximately 2600 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 3-4 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 125-200, versus the 75-100 without the trailer.
sampled in 2013. Credit: USFWS
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 the Great Lakes FWCOs, but also the River FWCOs 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 region has purchased two identical trailers to be used around the Midwest. As planning for the 2014 field season continues, we are confident these additional trailers will function as well as the Alpena FWCO trailer did in its first field season.