Kellie Carim, PhD, a scientist at National Genomics Center for Wildlife and Fish Conservation will present the program at our next BRTU meeting, titled “eDNA: tracking trout with DNA and modern molecular biology.” The meeting is Thursday, November 17, and starts at 7:00 PM at the Hamilton Elks Lodge at 203 State Street in Hamilton.
What is eDNA and why is it of interest to TU members and conservationists? eDNA stands for environmental DNA and reflects the latest modern methodology to be employed in fisheries biology. As you can see from the photos that Mike Schwartz took of Kellie at work, the scientists go out to a stream and using carefully designed protocols run samples of water through a special filter. Back in the lab, scientists like Kellie extract the DNA from the minuscule amounts of mucous, scales, cells and biological debris that have been trapped on the filter. Then using the very latest and unbelievably powerful DNA technology and associated computer analysis, they can determine the types of fish in a particular section of river or creek. If looking for native cutthroat trout in a river system is like trying to find a needle in a haystack, eDNA technology has the effect of making the needle enormous and the haystack very small. This site has a nice description of eDNA and Kellie’s work.
With the results of the eDNA studies on a stream, MFWP biologists can now confirm the presence of native or non-native fish and focus their management and survey work. The method can also be used to look for invasive non-native aquatic species, like weeds and zebra mussels. Chris Clancy tells me that the method is even being used here in the Bitterroot.
So does this mean we will soon have a pocket test to see if there are trout in that run where we can’t get a strike? Come to the meeting and find out!
The public is invited to attend and there is no charge for admission
And, remember! We will be having dinner with Kellie at Spice of Life at 5:00 pm before the meeting. Long-time TU supporter Karen Suennen will be donating 10% of the proceeds to our club. So please come join us for dinner.
For more information, please contact Greg Chester, or Marshall Bloom