Natural Resource eDNA Lab
Environmental DNA (eDNA) allows for detailed and efficient surveys of species that are of conservation concern, are invasive, or are harvested. We maintain an active eDNA lab where we develop cutting-edge statistical and molecular survey tools for use in critical resource management decisions. Our projects span terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. The Natural Resource eDNA lab can assist in developing species-specific or multi-species molecular assays, develop eDNA aggregation techniques suited for a variety of biological situations, and provide decision-support tools that incorporate eDNA survey results into project-specific resource management objectives.
Alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus) and blueback herring (Alosa aestivalis) are anadromous fishes that utilize rivers along the Atlantic Seaboard for spawning. Their numbers declined dramatically from the effects of widespread erection of dams and industrial pollution. We are developing targeted eDNA assays for each species that will allow us to monitor their recolonization of streams after dam removal in New Jersey. We also hope to track the timing of their timing of migration into, and out of, the Raritan River Basin.
The spotted lantern fly (SLF – Lycorma delicatula) is a recent invasive species in the United States that can cause severe injury to trees, tree fruit, and grapes. We have several active investigations into how to detect SLF when they are in low abundance to aid in eradication decisions. We have developed an eDNA protocol for SLF surveys within forest and agricultural settings that can support these efforts.
Emerald Ash Borer
Emerald ash borers (Agrilus planipennis) first arrived in North America in the 1990s causing widespread mortality to our native ash trees. Despite strong control measures, the species continues to expand its range. We are working to develop an eDNA protocol for identifying trees harboring ash borer larvae for use in population control and single-tree treatment decisions.